Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Lord Cranbrook,Swiflets Specialist.
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.


Saving this for later?

Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime - even offline.

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Lord Cranbrook,Swiflets Specialist.


Published on

Are you interested in research like Lord Cranbrook? Are you going to contribute to Swiflet Industry?For more information please logon to www, for …

Are you interested in research like Lord Cranbrook? Are you going to contribute to Swiflet Industry?For more information please logon to www, for detail.

Published in: Education, Travel

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Gathorne Hardy MA PhD PNBS(K) (5 th Earl of Cranbrook) Sarawak Museum (1956 - Yayasan Siswa Lokantara Universiti Malaya Niah cave excavations “Expeditions” (1964 – 92), to Kinabalu, Gn Benom, Vanuatu, Gn Mulu, Belalong (Brunei) Chairman, English Nature (1990-98), Chairman Entrust, Regulator of Environmental bodies under UK Landfill tax regulations (1996)
  • 2. Two tasks: 1. Sort out swiftlets taxonomy and biology 2. Identify animal remains from Niah excavations.
    • Burung Lelayang and sustainability of
    • “ white gold”
    • Systematics and biogeography of wild swiftlets
    • Identity of house-farmed birds
    • Biology and behaviour of swiftlets
    • Issues and implications for house-farming
    • 1. Systematics and biogeography of wild swiftlets
  • 6. Diversity peaks World range of swiftlets: Indo-Pacific Mascerenes Eastern Himalayas New Caledonia Hawaii Indo-Malayan region
  • 7. Swallows share the skies with swiftlets, but are unrelated
  • 8. Unlike swallows, swiftlets cannot perch. They feed (on aerial arthropods) and drink on the wing. Lim Chan Koon
  • 9. The world range of swiftlets [nos. of species] (Asia & Indian ocean) [1] [1] [1] [ < 1 > ] [3] [ < [ 8 ] > ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 7 ] [1] [ 6 ] [1] Migratory
  • 10. Hot-spot Malaysia 3 genera, 8 species of swiftlets
  • 11. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets)
      • Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species
      • Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 3 (+) spp.
      • Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 22 (-) spp .
      • World total ~ 26 spp.
  • 12. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets)
      • Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species
      • Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp.
      • Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp .
      • Malaysia total 8 spp.
  • 13. Waterfall swift (formerly called the “giant” swiftlet Breeding records Sight records
  • 14. Waterfall swift, Hydrochous gigas
  • 15. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets)
      • Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species
      • Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp.
      • Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp .
      • Malaysia total 8 spp.
  • 16. troglodytes esculenta Plain tailed linchi Glossy swiftlets Two species in Malaysia White spots on tail feathers
  • 17. Speciation among Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia C. esculenta L. 1758 C. linchi H & M 1834 C. troglodytes Gray 1845 All build self-supporting cup-like nests of strands of plant material, fixed with a basal band of edible nest ‘cement’
  • 18. Collocalia : glossy swiftlets 1. White-bellied swiftlets C. esculenta
  • 19. Collocalia : glossy swiftlets 1. White-bellied swiftlets C. esculenta cyanoptila
  • 20. Key character: a single feather tuft on the hind toe (hallux) Collocalia esculenta cyanoptila
  • 21. Collocalia linchi, Linchi swiftlet : Java, part of Sumatra & Kinabalu, Sabah Green glossed upperparts No tuft on hallux
  • 22. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets)
      • Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species
      • Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp.
      • Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp.
      • Malaysia total 8 spp.
  • 23. Black-brown swiftlets Aerodramus Photos: Lim Chan Koon
  • 24. Or “Mossy” nests
    • .
    • Nest of plant material, bound by soft, moist cement; rests on facet in cave wall
  • 25. Speciation among ‘mossy’ nest swiftlets Permanently soft, glutinous salivary nest-cement Lim Chan Koon
  • 26. A.vanikorensis Q & G 1830 A.salanganus Streubel 1848 * * * = type locality The two allopatric “mossy-nest” swiftlets
  • 27. There is only one species of swiftlet building the ‘Black’ nests this is Aerodramus maximus Lim Chan Koon
  • 28. Hevily feathered tarsus = A. maximus Naked (or lightly feathered) tarsus = others Field characters 2.
    • 2. White nest species
  • 30. White nests ( ‘vestitus’) Salai cave, Baram, Sarawak Photo Lim Chan Koon
  • 31. White nests are highest value These nests are composed almost entirely of edible nest-cement, with no more than a few feathers adhering to or incorporated, Raw nests may be worth RM 7000 per kg of ~100 nests
    • ** Importance of
    • Museum collections
    • [Sarawak Museum, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity (Singapore), Natural History Museum (London), Naturalis (Leiden), Museum Natl d’Histoire naturelle (Paris), American Museum of Natural History (New York), US National Museum (Washington DC), Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia...... ]
  • 33. There are also two species of “white-nest” swiftlets This is the typical dark-rumped form Aerodramus f. fuciphagus of Java
  • 34. White-nest swiftlets from Sarawak Aerodramus fuciphagus vestitus
  • 35. White-nest swiftlet from Gomantong cave , Sabah
  • 36. Topotypes of vestita Lesson from Sumatra
  • 37. AMNH 634703 f Coll. H.C. Robinson, Koh Pennan (Phangan Is) 13 June 1913. L Wing 112 No moult. Grey rumped, or Germain’s swiftlet Aerodramus germani Coasts and islands from Hainan (China) & Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, to Andaman Is Grey rump, with dark shaft streaks
  • 38.
            • Hainan
    Grey-rumped forms Topotypical Aerodramus g. germani Satang island, Sarawak (W. Borneo) Berhala island, Sandakan (N. E. Borneo) Mantanani Is., N W Borneo
  • 39. Skins from Satang Kecil (1933)
  • 40. Young bird from Satang Kecil, Sarawak Turtle Is. Collected in 1957
  • 41. Two old skins from Selangor (Kelang) 1887 & 1908
  • 42. Two skins from Juara Bay Tioman island (1907)
  • 43. P. Condore Type locality Sembilan Is Satang Island Mantanani Is. Berhala Is. Maratua Is. (ssp. perplexus ) Southern and western limits of Grey-rumped swiftlets Aerodramus germani in Malaysia P. Tioman Gomantong Horsborough lighthouse
  • 44. Two species of white-nest swiftlets Aerodramus germani Aerodramus fuciphagus A. g. germani A. (f.) vestitus ?? A. (g.?) perplexus A. f. vestitus A. f. fuciphagus A. g. hainaensis A. g. inexpectatus A. f. dammermanni A. fuciphagus micans
  • 45. Topotype of “ Collocalia fuciphaga amechana” Oberholser from Pulau Jimaja, Anamba Is., Indonesia
  • 46. Glossy swiftlets Collocalia Linchi Black-brown, Aerodramus Giant swiftlet Hydrochous Black nest White nest Mossy nest Bracket vegetable nest Indo-Malayan swiftlets
  • 47. Six swiftlets of interior Borneo: Comparative wing lengths Scale in mm Chris Stimpson Diagram by C. Stimpson
  • 48.
    • Nest site
    Pulau Gua = ‘Cave island’, Sarawak
  • 49. Karst limestone of interior Borneo Surprisingly, no records of Aerodramus swiftlets in any cave in Msia Semenanjung Caves in limestone and other rocks are the natural nesting sites of swiftlets.
  • 50. White cliffs Dizzy heights Twisty tunnels The work of nest collectors is very hazardous
  • 51. A. (f.) vestitus Salai cave, Baram, Sarawak Rarely can nests be gathered by hand Lim Chan Koon
  • 52. Access to many caves is arduous Bt Kelam, W. Kalimantan Nest fissure
  • 53. Climbing Mt Kelam Fixed ladders
  • 54. Walkways in cave interiors are made of natural materials Panguma cave, Niah, Sarawak Black-nest colony
  • 55. Nuar at Panguma Fixed climbing aids also use available natural materials
  • 56. Johari Top of the pole Sarawak Museum
  • 57. Collecting head at the end of the pole (penyulok ) Huge loss of life – eggs and young birds : Kayan river, Kalimantan Timur George Nawan
    • 2. Identity of house-farmed swiftlets
    • 2. Origin and identity of house-farmed swiftlets
  • 60. HOUSE-FARMING THE LATEST DOMESTICATION Intensive management of housed swiftlets began in Java, Indonesia, in the 1970s
  • 61. Glossy swiftlets naturally colonise cave entrances, rock-shelters, tree hollows and, by extension, culverts, bridges, open buildings and many other man-made structures
    • Linchi swiftlet [W. Java]
    • Green glossed upperparts
  • 62. In Java, especially, skills developed in transforming buildings naturally colonised by glossy swiftlets into white-nest houses
  • 63. Egg transfer
  • 64. Nest management
  • 65. House in transition C. linchi > A. fuciphagus Glossy swiftlet nests White nests
  • 66. New nest house at Bayang Kara, Kaltim. Original wooden house with C. esculenta nests enclosed in concrete shell; eggs imported from W. Java Ventilation holes Cladding, for coolness Javanese technology exported
  • 67. Spontaneous occupation of buildings by edible/white-nest swiftlets Penang & Butterworth Kuala Terengganu Bintulu Melaka Singapore Java (multiple instances) Banjermasin Since 1890
  • 68.  
  • 69. Spontaneous colonisations of buildings in Pen. Malaysia Penang (1947) K. Terengganu (1974) Kuala Lumpur (1948) Known start dates Melaka (1953) Singapore (1935) Taiping (1950s)
  • 70. Spontaneous colonisation of buildings
    • The first historic records of white-nest swiftlets occupying buildings were in Java, mid/late 19 th century.
    • Skins from Malacca dated 1953 (Raffles Mus.)
    • In Singapore, the first record was 1935 (Chasen).
    • In Penang, recorded breeding in a shop-house “at least” since 1947 (Gibson-Hill, Langham).
    • Taiping : tradition since 1950s in old govt. buildings
    • Kuala Terengganu (six) water-front shop-houses (1974)
    • Vietnam (about 1970)
  • 71. Since 1990s swiftlet-farming has relied on the direct attraction of free-flying birds into specially constructed houses
  • 72. House-farm buildings are now a familiar part of the street scene Is this the solution to sustainbility ?
  • 73. Tower block North Sumatra New build (2002)
  • 74. Vertiginous new structure in Pak Phanang, S. Thailand
  • 75. In southern Thailand swiftlet houses are a tourist attraction
  • 76. A young bird at Miri, Sarawak Resembles neither of the wild species of Borneo
  • 77. An adult from Kuching house
  • 78. House-farmed white-nest swiftlets of Sarawak do not resemble either of the wild species Aerodramus germani on islands Aerodramus (f.) vestitus of inland caves
  • 79. Spontaneous colonisation of buildings
    • Personal record of white-nest swiftlets spontaneously occupying buildings in Bintulu town Sarawak, first seen (~18 nests) in the eaves of downtown MAS office building in 1997.
    • Slightly earlier in Miri, where birds were nesting around windows mid-town in late 1990s.
    • The scene totally altered by the introduction of (initially) taped and now CD recordings of swiftlets vocalisations
  • 80. Pak Phanang S. Thailand
  • 81. A bird that flew into a house in Taiping Presumably from a local farm-house
  • 82. Adult bird no. 2, Penang 29 Oct 08
  • 83. Adult bird no. 3, Penang 29 Oct 08
  • 84. Adult house swiftlet at Taiping, 30 Sep 09
  • 85. Swiftlet at Pusing With unusually dark rump
  • 86. Adult bird Kota Bahru Oct 08
  • 87. Neighbour Joining Tree based on partial Cyt b region Sibu (03) Setiawan (SW102) Setiawan (SW01) Setiawan (SW101) Kuantan (KT152) Endau (EN191) Endau (EN193) Rompin (RP61) Selangor (SB32B) Selangor (SB32A) Sumatra ( SM77) Sumatra (SM78) Sumatra (SM77a) Sumatra (SM76) vestitus Goh Wei Lim Baram (LS01) Baram (LS09 ) Kuantan (KT41B ) Setiawan (SW02) Kuantan (KT41A) Kuantan (KT151) Endau (EN192 ) A. maximus 66 95 83 49 59 0.005
  • 88. Examples from other localities are similar Singapore
    • Dorsal plumage, adult, freshly moulted indistinguishable from Javan
    • A. fuciphagus
    • 3. Swiftlets biology and behaviour
      • In scientific literature, Langham’s study of a house colony in Penang for 6 months (1971)
      • Kang studied a colony in artificial tunnel in Singapore (Pulau Sentosa) for about 1 year
      • Otherwise all data from wild birds in natural cave sites in Sarawak by Lim Chan Koon (1996-
      • Is it time that house-farmer associations developed research programmes to match the needs of the industry?
    • Dark orientation
    • a. All Aerodramus swiftlets (including house-farmed birds) orientate in darkness by use of a rattle-like echolocation call.
    • What are the implications for housed colonies?
  • 91. 1958 sonograph of echo-locating calls of Aerodramus maximus < - - - 2 seconds - - - > Single clicks, very short duration : 0 – 15 kHz ‘white sound’ A||||||||||||||V 20 kHz
    • 2. Breeding cycles and behaviour
    • a. Wild swiftlets have very protracted breeding cycles in relation to their small size.(including house-farmed birds)
    • What is the breeding peiodicity in housed colonies?
  • 93. Malaysian swiftlets: statistics for wild birds (averages ) Species Ad. Wt. (g) Egg size (mm) Clutch Incub’n (days) Fledge (days) Black-nest 18 25 x 16 1 28 59 White-nest ( vestitus) 12.5 20 x 14 2 25 45 Mossy- nest 12.5 21 x 14 2 23 48 Glossy ( cyanoptila ) 7.5 17 x 11 2 22 42
  • 94. White-nest : coordinated breeding Lim Chan Koon
  • 95. White-nest swiftlet: eggs & nestlings Salai cave, Sarawak, 1997-98 1997 1998 Eggs Nestlings Lim Chan Koon
  • 96. White-nest Swiftlets: % undisturbed, marked nests containing at least one egg = breeding. 3 Sarawak caves Lim Chan Koon
  • 97. A. (f.) vestitus : ‘Porcupine’ stage
  • 98. Black-nest swiftlet: Slow nestling growth Body mass (g) Wing length (mm) Adult Kang et al.
    • 3. The edible substance of the nest
    • a. It is well known that the edible nest material is a secretion of the salivary glands of swiftlets
    • What is the relationship between nest-building and gland activity in housed colonies?
  • 100. Inactive gland Active gland Black nest swiftlet
  • 101. FAQ 1 What is the edible substance ?
    • Chemical composition of nests of different species are similar but not identical (Lim, 1999)
      • C. esculenta nest has significantly less sialic acid but more galactose as compared with
      • A. fuciphagus or A. maximus nests.
      • Fucose absent in A. maximus nests
    Lim Chan Koon
  • 102. Commercial nests “ C. brevisrostris” Apus pacificus Apus affinis Human growth hormone
  • 103. Repackaged as a novel product
  • 104. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets
    • 1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort
    • Note: a completed ‘white’ nest, consists entirely of edible material secreted by the building birds, and weighs 5 – 10 g
    • i.e., 50-80% body weight of a swiftlet
  • 105. Breeding cycle & salivary gland activity Females Males Gonads active Salivary glands inactive Gonads inactive Salivary glands active
  • 106. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets
    • 1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort
    • Conclusion:
    • Females in breeding (=egg-laying) condition cease to participate in nest building.
    • Males are not constrained, and remain capable of producing nest material, regardless of sexual condition.
  • 107. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets
    • 1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort
    • 2. Moult and replacement of plumage
      • a. Flight feathers
      • b. Contour (body) plumage
  • 108. Malaysia (2-5 o N) Annual breeding cycle and moult All birds
  • 109. A. (f.) vestitus : breeding & moult *** 1 st primaries moulted Last primaries moulted *** Lim Chan Koon
  • 110. Black-nest swiftlet at Niah Annual moult of the primary tract
  • 111. Black-nest swiftlets at Sarang: moult & breeding % nests with eggs Count of shed feathers Lim Chan Koon
  • 112. Studies of behaviour at the cave mouth shows that swiftlets feed only during daylight hours, and that weather (especially rain) is an important determinant of the birds’ activity. It is likely that prolonged rainy weather is detrimental to their ability to feed
  • 113. The influence of weather on behaviour
  • 114. Analysis of food balls fed to nestlings, compared with passive samples of aerial insects, shows that swiftlets are selective feeders, taking a very wide variety of arthropod prey
  • 115.  
  • 116. Conclusions & questions (1)
    • House-farmed swiftlets in Sarawak do not resemble either of the local wild forms, and molecular studies support this distinction.
    • There is phenotypic variation among house farmed swiftlets.
      • Young swiftlets in Miri have distinctive grey rumps, and birds of similar appearance are established in swiftlet houses as far away as southern Thailand.
      • Kuching adults are closer to A. fuciphagus of Java, but have rump streaks reminiscent of A. germani
      • Further variation is shown among birds of east [Kota Bharu] and west [Penang I.] of Peninsular Malaysia.
    • Are house-farmed birds interspecific hybrids ?
  • 117. The Malaysian government has recognised that the husbandry of swiftlets in houses falls into the remit of the Veterinary Department, including issues such as animal welfare and cruelty
  • 118. According to the Law
      • Under State (Sarawak and Sabah) and Federal Law, wild swiftlets are totally protected species,
      • It is illegal to hold,handle etc the birds or their products.
      • In Sarawak, it is illegal to maintain any swiftlet in town houses
  • 119. A new domestication
    • It is evident that house-reared swiftlets are imprinted on buildings as potential nest sites.
    • There is no evidence (e.g., Sabah, Perak) that any house-type birds have colonised available caves.
    • Therefore, genetically and behaviourally they constitute a new ‘domestic’ form of swiftlet.
    • If they are hybrids, their scientific name is not regulated by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature.
    • For convenience, they could perhaps be known as
    • Aerodramus domesticus
  • 120. Could managed, selective breeding of house-farmed birds improve the stock, e.g., female fecundity, nest weight or quality, disease resistance ?
  • 121. Outstanding issues
    • Is the present high rate of increase in house-farmed birds sustainable ?
    • If there is over-exploitation of the food resource, could this place a local or regional limit on the populations ?
    • Are house-farmed swiftlets competing for resources with other bird species of similar habit, e.g., migratory swallows Hirundo rustica ?
  • 122. In the scenario of this newest domestication, with the backing of sound husbandry and good science , rational planning can ensure the perpetuation and sustainable management of this important biological resource.
  • 123.  
  • 124. Thank you
      • And my thanks to the many people who have joined me in field trips, and given help and support, especially colleagues on whose work I have drawn:
      • Dr Boedi Mranata, Dr Lim Chan Koon
    A bit of science on the subject
  • 125. Carpometacarpus of a swiftlet Scale in mm Chris Stimpson
  • 126. Carpometacarpus: Fossils from Niah cave Scale in mm Chris Stimpson
  • 127. Carpometacarpus: Fossils from Niah cave Scale in mm Chris Stimpson