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Whitehead's Swiftlet Aerodramus whiteheadi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Aerodramus whiteheadi (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Collocalia.

Collocalia whiteheadi (Ogilvie-Grant, 1895)

Distribution and population
Collocalia whiteheadi is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known from only four mountains, one on Luzon (nominate whiteheadi) and three on Mindanao (race origenis) (Collar et al. 1999). On Luzon, it was collected on Mt Data in 1895, but has not been recorded there subsequently. On Mindanao, it is known from Mt Apo in 1904 and Mts Kitanglad and Matutum in the 1990s, with specimens taken recently at an unnamed locality in South Cotabato (the same province as Mt Matutum). Population numbers are entirely unknown, partly as a result of the species's apparent preference for relatively inaccessible areas and partly due to identification difficulties, even with birds in the hand.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified. Further research is required.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1999).

It occurs over forested mountains above 1,200 m elevation. Specimens of origenis were reportedly taken from a hollow tree, presumably when roosting. If several unidentified Collocalia swiftlets mist-netted on a cliff face at Mt Kitanglad in 1997 were this species, as seems likely, then cliffs may be an important component of habitat preferences. The breeding season is not known, but a nest was taken in July, reportedly from cliffs. Additionally, four nests (undated) thought to have been made by the species were taken from a hollow tree. Its migratory status is uncertain.

Restricted range (if genuine) and habitat loss may combine to jeopardise the species. Mt Data is reportedly devoid of forest. Mts Kitanglad and Matutum are under threat from illegal logging operations and, like Mt Apo, clearance for kaingin shifting agriculture.

Conservation Actions Underway
Mt Matutum Forest Reserve (140 km2, of which 3,000 ha is primary forest) has been proposed as a national park. The Natural Parks at Mt Apo (644 km2) and Mt Kitanglad (313 km2) are CPPAP sites. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct fieldwork using mist-netting to determine identification characters. Focus fieldwork on cliffs in montane forest in order to identify further important sites. Carry out studies at known sites to lay the basis for appropriate management strategies.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Lowen, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Aerodramus whiteheadi. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Apodidae (Swifts)
Species name author (Ogilvie-Grant, 1895)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 11,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species