Abstract

Foraging habits and habitats of exclusive aerial insectivores, the Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus inexpectatus) and Glossy Swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta affinis), were studied in Andaman Islands, India. Observations were made during January to June 2004 between 0500 and 1800 hrs at four locations in the forest and on open paddy land. Edible-nest and Glossy swiftlets, respectively, spent ( ± SD) 17.2 ± 11.4% and 25.8 ± 15.6% of their time foraging with significant temporal variations. Glossy Swiftlets had spatial variations in twist, flutter, and tail-wing-open foraging maneuvers. This species also had diurnal variations in flock size, which were positively correlated with feeding attempts. Both swiftlets shared all microhabitats except Inside Forest Canopy and Inside Stream Bank Canopy. Microhabitat use did not vary significantly in Below Stream Bank Canopy, >10 m Above Forest Canopy, >30 m Above Ground, and Above Forest Canopy for Edible-nest Swiftlets. Inside Forest Canopy and Inside Stream Bank Canopy categories for Glossy Swiftlets were relatively important in descending order. Deforestation near and distant from caves used by swiftlets for breeding in the islands can severely affect the wild population of both species.

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