FIRST CONFIRMED BREEDING RECORD OF THE BLYTH’S SWIFT APUS PACIFICUS LEUCONYX (BLYTH, 1845) (APODIFORMES, APODIDAE) IN SOUTHERN PARTS OF NILGIRI REGION OF WESTERN GHATS OF INDIA
Keywords:Anaikatty Hills, A. p. leuconyx, Breeding range, Blyth’s Swift, Western Ghats
Blyth’s Swift, endemic to the Indian subcontinent, is one of the four taxa of the Pacific Swift Apus pacificus complex. It is known to breed in high altitudes (>2,000 m) and disperse widely in winters, as far as the southern extremity of Nilgiri Region of the Western Ghats of India. However, the true extent of its non-breeding range remains uncertain. The present study reports the extended breeding range of the species and also an attempt to confirm its breeding range using the Species Distribution Modeling (SDM). In April 2020 in Anaikatty Hills of Southern Western Ghats, Coimbatore, we recorded an assemblage of four aerial foraging Aves; Indian Swiftlet Aerodramus unicolor (Jerdon, 1840), Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis (J.E. Gray, 1829), Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica (Laxmann, 1769), and a large-sized swift. After referring to the experts’ field guides and discussions, we confirmed the species’ identification as the Blyth’s Swift Apus pacificus leuconyx (Blyth, 1845). The observed individuals of the Blyth’s Swift were carrying food bolus, confirming active breeding of the species in the Nilgiri region of the Southern Western Ghats of India. Also, the available breeding records were projected using Species Distribution Model SDM, the breeding range included the extent of Southern Western Ghats. We claim the first confirmed breeding record of the Blyth’s Swift in the region and an extension of the species breeding range.