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Hemiprocnidae – Treeswifts

Whiskered Treeswift in Malaysia: Photo by Dubi Shapiro

Hemiprocnidae, also known as treeswifts, are a small family of birds found in tropical Asia. These birds are known for their distinctive, elegant appearance with long, forked tails and crests on their heads. They have a lifestyle similar to swifts, foraging for insects in flight and spending much of their time on the wing. However, treeswifts often perch on trees, where they build nests out of saliva and plant materials. Explore our guide to learn more about the unique habits and characteristics of these agile and intriguing birds.

Overview of Hemiprocnidae

Treeswifts perch in trees, with feet resembling those of other perching birds, and have a unique nesting approach. They use saliva to bind a soft half-nest and incubate while perching upright, helping them stay concealed from predators. Their forked tails and distinctive feathered ornamentation on their faces or foreheads, earning them the name “whiskered swifts,” set them apart from the more numerous Apodidae. Treeswifts spend less time flying than true swifts; although their flight is slightly slower with deeper wing-strokes, it remains closely similar to that of swifts.