Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The global population size has not been quantified. The European population is estimated at 110-200 pairs, which equates to 220-400 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), but Europe forms <5% of the global range.
The population is suspected to be increasing owing to the construction of bridges which it utilises for nesting (del Hoyo et al. 1999). The small European population trend is not known (BirdLife International 2015).
This species is found over a wide range of habitats from arid savanna and Mediterranean scrub to equatorial forest (Chantler and Boesman 2016). It typically uses disused Little Swift (Apus affinis) or certain swallow (Hirundo) nests, though niches in rock-faces or buildings are sometimes used. In disused nests, it uses feathers and down adhered with saliva as lining; in rock sites it makes a shallow cup of feathers and vegetable matter agglutinated with saliva. It breeds from late May in Spain, May in Morocco, July in Senegambia, April and June-July in Nigeria, February in Sudan, May-June in Ethiopia, May and July in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January-February, August and October in Angola, August-December in Zambia, September in Malawi, August-April in Zimbabwe, November-February in Namibia, August-March in Transvaal with a peak in South Africa between October and January. Typically lays one to three eggs (Chantler and Boesman 2016). It feeds on small flying insects (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species is migratory in the northernmost and southernmost parts of the range; the Spanish population is present from early May to August–October and some birds are recorded into early December, with autumn migration through the Straits of Gibraltar occurring mid-August to mid-October. The southern African population is present from August to May (Chantler and Boesman 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within its European range.
Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently required for this species within its European range.
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Apus caffer. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/08/2020.