swiflet research by Lord Cranbrook


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Since 1957, Lord was involved in swiflet research. Till todate, more of his works has not been shared. This is the opportunity for those interested to share his works...

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swiflet research by Lord Cranbrook

  1. 1. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>Burung Lelayang and sustainability of </li></ul><ul><li>“ white gold” </li></ul>
  3. 3. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>Systematics and biogeography of wild swiftlets </li></ul><ul><li>The new domestication: house-farmed swiftlets </li></ul><ul><li>New opportunties for collaborative research. </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A session </li></ul>
  4. 4. Swallows share the skies with swiftlets, but are unrelated
  5. 5. Unlike swallows, swiftlets cannot perch. They feed (on aerial arthropods) and drink on the wing. Lim Chan Koon
  6. 6. APODIFORMES APODI TROCHILI Lim Chan Koon Apodidae Hemiprocnidae T rochilidae Tree-swifts Swifts Hummingbirds
  7. 7. APODIDAE APODINAE CYPSELOIDINAE Lim Chan Koon Chaeturini Collocaliini Apodini Swiftlets Spinetails Typical swifts
  8. 8. COLLOCALIINI Lim Chan Koon Aerodramus Collocalia Hydrochous Glossy Grey-brown Giant swiftlet swiftlets swiftlets /Waterfall swift Schoutedenapus Africa 2 species
  9. 9. Diversity peaks World range of swiftlets: Indo-Pacific Mascerenes Eastern Himalayas New Caledonia Hawaii Indo-Malayan region
  10. 10. World range of swiftlets: Indo-Malayan Mascerenes A erodramus unicolor New Caledonia
  11. 11. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>1. Systematics and biogeography of wild swiftlets </li></ul>
  12. 12. Diversity of swiftlets of Indian ocean, Asia & Australasia [nos. of species] [1] [1] [1] [ < 1 > ] [3] [ < [ 8 ] > ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 7 ] [1] [ 6 ] [1] Migratory
  13. 13. Hot-spot Malaysia 3 genera, 8 species of swiftlets
  14. 14. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets) <ul><ul><li>Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 3 (+) spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 22 (-) spp . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> World total ~ 26 spp. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets) <ul><ul><li>Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Malaysia total 8 spp. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Waterfall swift (also called the “giant” swiftlet Breeding records Sight records
  17. 17. Waterfall swift, Hydrochous gigas
  18. 18. The nest of the Giant Swiftlet is built of mossy vegetation, loosely held together by soft, moist salivary material. This swiftlet lays a single egg Photo: J-H. Becking
  19. 19. The single nestling of the giant swiftlet. The plumose down is unique among swiftlets Photo: J-H. Becking
  20. 20. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets) <ul><ul><li>Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Malaysia total 8 spp. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. troglodytes esculenta Plain tailed linchi Glossy swiftlets Two species in Malaysia White spots on tail feathers
  22. 22. 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’
  23. 23. Collocalia : glossy swiftlets 1. White-bellied swiftlets C. esculenta
  24. 24. Collocalia : glossy swiftlets 1. White-bellied swiftlets C. esculenta cyanoptila
  25. 25. Key character: a single feather tuft on the hind toe (hallux) Collocalia esculenta cyanoptila
  26. 26. Collocalia linchi, Linchi swiftlet : Java, part of Sumatra & Kinabalu, Sabah Green glossed upperparts No tuft on hallux
  27. 27. Apodidae (swifts) Collocaliini (swiftlets) <ul><ul><li>Waterfall swift , Hydrochous 1 species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glossy swiftlets, Collocalia 2 spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black-brown swiftlets, Aerodramus 5 spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Malaysia total 8 spp. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Black-brown swiftlets Aerodramus Photos: Lim Chan Koon
  29. 29. Or “Mossy” nests <ul><li>. </li></ul><ul><li>Nest of plant material, bound by soft, moist cement; rests on facet in cave wall </li></ul>
  30. 30. Six swiftlets of interior Borneo: Comparative wing lengths Scale in mm Chris Stimpson Diagram by C. Stimpson
  31. 31. Speciation among ‘mossy’ nest swiftlets Permanently soft, glutinous salivary nest-cement Lim Chan Koon
  32. 32. A.vanikorensis Q & G 1830 A.salanganus Streubel 1848 * * * = type locality The two allopatric “mossy-nest” swiftlets
  33. 33. There is only one species of swiftlet building the ‘Black’ nests this is Aerodramus maximus Lim Chan Koon
  34. 34. Hevily feathered tarsus = A. maximus Naked (or lightly feathered) tarsus = others Field characters 2.
  35. 35. Black-nest swiftlet Aerodramus maximus New discovery: Sembilan Is Bau/Serian Tj Datu Tatau/Kakus NIAH Eastern Sabah A. m. maximus A. m. lowi
  36. 36. <ul><li>maximus at Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Note the pale rump </li></ul>
  37. 37. Pulau Gua, Sarawak
  38. 38. <ul><li>Nest site </li></ul>Pulau Gua = ‘Cave island’, Sarawak
  39. 39. A. maximus lowi at Tjg Datuk, Sarawak
  40. 40. Glossy swiftlets Collocalia Linchi Black-brown, Aerodramus Giant swiftlet Hydrochous Black nest White nest Mossy nest Bracket vegetable nest Indo-Malayan swiftlets
  41. 41. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>2. White nest species </li></ul>
  42. 42. White nests ( ‘vestitus’) Salai cave, Baram, Sarawak Photo Lim Chan Koon
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>** Importance of </li></ul><ul><li>Museum collections </li></ul><ul><li>[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...... ] </li></ul>
  45. 45. There are also two species of “white-nest” swiftlets This is the typical dark-rumped form Aerodramus f. fuciphagus of Java
  46. 46. White-nest swiftlets from Sarawak Aerodramus fuciphagus vestitus
  47. 47. 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
  48. 48. <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hainan </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>Grey-rumped forms Topotypical Aerodramus g. germani Satang island, Sarawak (W. Borneo) Berhala island, Sandakan (N. E. Borneo) Mantanani Is., N W Borneo
  49. 49. Skins from Satang Kecil (1933)
  50. 50. Young bird from Satang Kecil, Sarawak Turtle Is. Collected in 1957
  51. 51. White-nest swiftlet from Gomantong cave , Sabah
  52. 52. Two skins from Juara Bay Tioman island (1907)
  53. 53. P. Condore Type locality Malacca 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 Sembilan Is
  54. 54. Batu Putih, Kepulauan Sembilan Photo: Lim Tze Tshen
  55. 56. “ White Rock” (Sembilan Is.) Eleven nests of Grey-rumped swiftlet on 7/4/2010
  56. 57. SWIFTLETS (COLLOCALIINI) of MALAYSIA RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 2010 1. Conservation issues Photo: Lim Chan Koon
  57. 58. 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.
  58. 59. White cliffs Dizzy heights Twisty tunnels The work of nest collectors is very hazardous
  59. 60. A. (f.) vestitus Salai cave, Baram, Sarawak Rarely can nests be gathered by hand Lim Chan Koon
  60. 61. Walkways in cave interiors are made of natural materials Panguma cave, Niah, Sarawak Black-nest colony
  61. 62. Nuar at Panguma Fixed climbing aids also use available natural materials
  62. 63. Johari Top of the pole Sarawak Museum
  63. 64. Collecting head at the end of the pole (penyulok ) Huge loss of life – eggs and young birds : Kayan river, Kalimantan Timur George Nawan
  64. 65. SWIFTLETS (COLLOCALIINI) of MALAYSIA RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 2010 1. Identity of house farmed white-nest swiftlets Photo: Lim Chan Koon
  65. 66. House-farm buildings are now a familiar part of the street scene Is this the solution to sustainbility ?
  66. 67. HOUSE-FARMING THE LATEST DOMESTICATION Intensive management of housed swiftlets began in Java, Indonesia, in the 1970s
  67. 68. Glossy swiftlets naturally colonise cave entrances, rock-shelters, tree hollows and, by extension, culverts, bridges, open buildings and many other man-made structures <ul><li>Linchi swiftlet [W. Java] </li></ul><ul><li>Green glossed upperparts </li></ul>
  68. 69. In Java, especially, skills developed in transforming buildings naturally colonised by glossy swiftlets into white-nest houses
  69. 70. Egg transfer
  70. 71. Nest management
  71. 72. House in transition C. linchi > A. fuciphagus Glossy swiftlet nests White nests
  72. 73. 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
  73. 74. Spontaneous occupation of buildings by edible/white-nest swiftlets Penang & Butterworth Kuala Terengganu Bintulu Melaka Singapore Java (multiple instances) Banjermasin Since 1890
  74. 75. Spontaneous colonisations of buildings in Pen. Malaysia Penang (1947) K. Terengganu (1974) Kuala Lumpur (1948) Known start dates Melaka (1953) Singapore (1935)
  75. 76. Spontaneous colonisation of buildings <ul><li>The first historic records of white-nest swiftlets occupying buildings were in Java, mid/late 19 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>Skins from Malacca dated 1953 (Raffles Mus.) </li></ul><ul><li>In Singapore, the first record was 1935 (Chasen). </li></ul><ul><li>In Penang, recorded breeding in a shop-house “at least” since 1947 (Gibson-Hill, Langham). </li></ul><ul><li>Kuala Terengganu (six) water-front shop-houses (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>Vietnam (about 1970) </li></ul>
  76. 77. Since 1990s swiftlet-farming has relied on the direct attraction of free-flying birds into specially constructed houses
  77. 78. Tower block North Sumatra New build (2002)
  78. 79. Vertiginous new structure in Pak Phanang, S. Thailand
  79. 80. A young bird at Miri, Sarawak Resembles neither of the wild species of Borneo
  80. 81. An adult from Kuching house
  81. 82. 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
  82. 83. Conclusions & questions (1) <ul><li>House-farmed swiftlets in Sarawak do not resemble either of the local wild forms, and molecular studies support this distinction. </li></ul><ul><li>There is phenotypic variation among house farmed swiftlets. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young swiftlets in Miri have distinctive grey rumps, and birds of similar appearance are established in swiftlet houses as far away as southern Thailand. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kuching adults are closer to A. fuciphagus of Java, but have rump streaks reminiscent of A. germani </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Further variation is shown among birds of east [Kota Bharu] and west [Penang I.] of Peninsular Malaysia. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are house-farmed birds interspecific hybrids ? </li></ul>
  83. 84. A new domestication <ul><li>It is evident that house-reared swiftlets are imprinted on buildings as potential nest sites. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no evidence (e.g., Sabah, Perak) that any house-type birds have colonised available caves. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, genetically and behaviourally they constitute a new ‘domestic’ form of swiftlet. </li></ul><ul><li>If they are hybrids, their scientific name is not regulated by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature. </li></ul><ul><li>For convenience, they could perhaps be known as </li></ul><ul><li>Aerodramus domesticus </li></ul>
  84. 85. Spontaneous colonisation of buildings <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Slightly earlier in Miri, where birds were nesting around windows mid-town in late 1990s. </li></ul><ul><li>The scene totally altered by the introduction of (initially) taped and now CD recordings of swiftlets vocalisations </li></ul><ul><li>MAGIC MUSIC </li></ul>
  85. 86. Pak Phanang S. Thailand
  86. 87. A bird that flew into a house in Taiping Presumably from a local farm-house
  87. 88. Adult bird no. 2, Penang 29 Oct 08
  88. 89. Adult bird no. 3, Penang 29 Oct 08
  89. 90. Adult bird Kota Bahru Oct 08
  90. 91. Examples from other localities are similar Singapore <ul><li>Dorsal plumage, adult, freshly moulted indistinguishable from Javan </li></ul><ul><li>A. fuciphagus </li></ul>
  91. 92. 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
  92. 93. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>Swiftlets biology and behaviour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In scientific literature, Langham’s study of a house colony in Penang for 6 months (1971) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kang studied a colony in artificial tunnel in Singapore (Pulau Sentosa) for about 1 year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Otherwise all data from wild birds in natural cave sites in Sarawak by Lim Chan Koon (1996- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the national veterinary authority develop research programmes to match the needs of the industry? </li></ul></ul>
  93. 94. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>1. Breeding cycles and behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>a. Wild swiftlets have very protracted breeding cycles in relation to their small size.(including house-farmed birds) </li></ul><ul><li>Are these conclusions valid for housed colonies? </li></ul>
  94. 95. Even the most successful house-farm managers are ignorant of basic biology of swiftlets
  95. 96. 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
  96. 97. Black-nest swiftlet: Slow nestling growth Body mass (g) Wing length (mm) Adult Kang et al.
  97. 98. White-nest swiftlet: eggs & nestlings Salai cave, Sarawak, 1997-98 1997 1998 Eggs Nestlings Lim Chan Koon
  98. 99. White-nest Swiftlets: % undisturbed, marked nests containing at least one egg = breeding. 3 Sarawak caves Lim Chan Koon
  99. 100. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>The edible substance of the nest </li></ul><ul><li>a. It is well known that the edible nest material is a secretion of the salivary glands of swiftlets </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications for housed colonies? </li></ul>
  100. 101. Inactive gland Active gland Black nest swiftlet
  101. 102. FAQ 1 What is the edible substance ? <ul><li>Chemical composition of nests of different species are similar but not identical (Lim, 1999) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>C. esculenta nest has significantly less sialic acid but more galactose as compared with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A. fuciphagus or A. maximus nests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fucose absent in A. maximus nests </li></ul></ul>Lim Chan Koon
  102. 103. Commercial nests “ C. brevisrostris” Apus pacificus Apus affinis Human growth hormone
  103. 104. Repackaged as a novel product
  104. 105. 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
  105. 106. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets <ul><li>1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort </li></ul><ul><li>Note: a completed ‘white’ nest, consists entirely of edible material secreted by the building birds, and weighs 5 – 10 g </li></ul><ul><li>i.e., 50-80% body weight of a swiftlet </li></ul>
  106. 107. Breeding cycle & salivary gland activity Females Males Gonads active Salivary glands inactive Gonads inactive Salivary glands active
  107. 108. White-nest : coordinated breeding Lim Chan Koon
  108. 109. A. (f.) vestitus : ‘Porcupine’ stage
  109. 110. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets <ul><li>1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>Females in breeding (=egg-laying) condition cease to participate in nest building. </li></ul><ul><li>Males are not constrained, and remain capable of producing nest material, regardless of sexual condition. </li></ul>
  110. 111. Metabolic demands on breeding swiftlets <ul><li>1. Production of salivary nest cement vs. reproductive effort </li></ul><ul><li>2. Moult and replacement of plumage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a. Flight feathers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b. Contour (body) plumage </li></ul></ul>
  111. 112. Malaysia (2-5 o N) Annual breeding cycle and moult All birds
  112. 113. Black-nest swiftlet at Niah Annual moult of the primary tract
  113. 114. A. (f.) vestitus : breeding & moult *** 1 st primaries moulted Last primaries moulted *** Lim Chan Koon
  114. 115. Black-nest swiftlets at Sarang: moult & breeding % nests with eggs Count of shed feathers Lim Chan Koon
  115. 116. SWIFTLETS of MALAYSIA <ul><li>Dark orientation </li></ul><ul><li>a. All Aerodramus swiftlets (including house-farmed birds) orientate in darkness by use of a rattle-like echolocation call. </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications for housed colonies? </li></ul>
  116. 117. 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
  117. 119. Why do swiftlets prefer to build their nests in corners ?
  118. 120. Corner nests are 3 rd -grade in the market, which prefers 180º nests
  119. 121. 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
  120. 122. The influence of weather on behaviour
  121. 123. 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
  122. 125. Could managed, selective breeding of house-farmed birds improve the stock, e.g., female fecundity, nest weight or quality, disease resistance ?
  123. 126. Outstanding issues <ul><li>Is the present high rate of increase in house-farmed birds sustainable ? </li></ul><ul><li>If there is over-exploitation of the food resource, could this place a local or regional limit on the populations ? </li></ul><ul><li>Are house-farmed swiftlets competing for resources with other bird species of similar habit, e.g., migratory swallows Hirundo rustica ? </li></ul><ul><li>Parasites and predators </li></ul>
  124. 127. 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.
  125. 129. Thank you <ul><ul><li>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: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Boedi Mranata, Dr Lim Chan Koon </li></ul></ul>A bit of science on the subject
  126. 130. Carpometacarpus of a swiftlet Scale in mm Chris Stimpson
  127. 131. Carpometacarpus: Fossils from Niah cave Scale in mm Chris Stimpson
  128. 132. Carpometacarpus: Fossils from Niah cave Scale in mm Chris Stimpson
  129. 133. 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)