The Swiftlet’s (Aerodramus Fuciphagus) is a small bird of the swift family which is found in South-east Asia. Its nest is made of solidified saliva and is used to make bird’s nest soup. It is 11 to 12 cm long and weighs 15 to 18 grams. The plumage is blackish-brown above, paler on the under parts. The rump is slightly paler than the rest of the upperparts. The tail is slightly forked and the wings are long and narrow. The bill and feet are black.
It feeds over a range of habitats from coastal areas to the mountains, occurring up to 2,800 meters above sea-level. Swiftlet’s feed on insects caught in flight such as winged ants, fig wasps, bees, flies, small beetles, leafhoppers and mayflies.
They construct their nests with glutinous strands of starch-like saliva produced by a pair of large, salivary glands under their tongue and thereafter mate and breed their young in the nest. The first breeding season usually begins in December and continues through March followed by April to July and then August to November.
Aerodramus is of special interest due to its use of echolocation and their intricately constructed saliva nests which in some species contain no other material such as feathers, moss or twigs and are collected, selling at extremely high prices. It has been argued that the high demand for these nests could have had an adverse effect on their populations but other authorities have shown that modern techniques of nest farming have increased the bird population.