Fork-tailed Swifts

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Fork-tailed Swifts
From: Sue Gregory <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 09:06:59 +1000
A big movement of Fork-tailed Swifts over Cairns yesterday, with several dozen feeding by the Barron R. and Centenary Park, and then dozens more late pm at Smithfield, all of the latter birds heading southwards.

Many were in moult, with very shabby worn and brownish wing feathers, and quite a few had lost the pointed rectrices which make the tail fork, giving a rather bullet-ended look with no discernible fork. The tail would often appear quite ragged looking. There is a major potential for confusion with House Swift A. nipalensis here (Little Swift A. affinis in our books), but the tail of the moulting Fork-tailed (Pacific) Swifts doesn't seem to be neatly square or slightly notched like that species, and they appear longer winged with a larger and more diffuse white throat.
Phil Gregory

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