Schoutedenapus myoptilus (Scarce swift)

Skaarswindswael [Afrikaans]; Shoa-gierzwaluw [Dutch]; Martinet de Shoa [French]; Maussegler [German]; Andorinhão de Shoa [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Apodiformes > Family: Apodidae

Schoutedenapus myoptilus (Scarce swift)  

Scarce swift, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in Uganda, Kenya and eastern DRC, with small, isolated populations elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.  Within southern Africa it is restricted to Zimbabwe's eastern highlands and adjacent Mozambique. It generally prefers crags and precipices in moist forest highlands, especially if near a waterfall.

Distribution of Scarce swift in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Movements and migrations

It is thought to be a breeding migrant to eastern Zimbabwe, staying from about July-March.


Mainly eats flying insects, such as ant and termite alates, sometimes joining mixed-species foraging flocks.


Barely anything is known about its breeding habits, besides that egg-laying season is from September-January and it probably nests in large fissures in high rock cliffs.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



 Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Birds home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search