1073. Cypselus affinis.
The Common Indian Swift.
Cypselus affinis, Gray & Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pi. 35, fig. 2 (1832); Jerdon, Mad. Jour. L. S. xi, p. 235; Tickell, J. A. S. B. xvii, p. 303; Blyth, Cat. p. 86; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 106; Adams, P. Z. S. 1859, p. 175 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 177 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 339; Hume, S. F. i, p. 166; Aitken, S. F. iii, p. 214; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 202; Hume, Cat. no. 100 ; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 234 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 319 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 44; Butler, ibid. p. 379 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 347; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 3 (note); id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 21 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 86 ; Littledale, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 31; Barnes, ibid. p. 43; iv, p. 4; Newnham, op. cit. ii. p. 55; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 156. Cypselus nepalensis, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 780 (1836). Cypselus montanus, Jerdon, Mad. Jour. L. S. xiii, pt. 2, p. 144 (1844). Cypselus abessynicus, Streubel, Isis, 1848, p. 354; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xxxviii, pt. 2, p. 169 ; Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 405. Micropus affinis, Hartert, Cat. B. M. xvi, p. 453.
Ababil, Babila, H.; Pakoli, Mahr; Hawabil-bil, Saharanpur; Batasi, Pahari, Sikhim ; Waehaelaniya, Laeniya, Cing.
Coloration. Very dark brown, almost black, with a distinct gloss above and below ; crown and nape paler, forehead and lower tail-coverts paler still; a black spot before the eye and slight pale supercilia; quills glossed with green; a broad white band across the rump, and the chin and throat white, the feathers more or less dark-shafted.
Bill black ; iris deep brown ; feet vinous brown (Legge).
Length about 5.5 ; tail 1.75; wing 5.25; tarsus .4. The tail is nearly square, the outer scarcely longer than the middle rectrices.
Distribution. Resident throughout India and Ceylon, but locally distributed ; very common in places, wanting in others, ascending the Himalayas to about 6000 feet. To the westward this Swift is found in Kashmir, the Punjab, and Sind, throughout Southwestern Asia, including Persia and Palestine, and in the greater part of Africa ; but it is replaced east of the Bay of Bengal by the next species.
Habits, See. The Indian Swift is highly gregarious, and is commonly seen about old buildings, being perhaps most common in large towns ; it is also found haunting rocky cliffs, and it breeds on cliffs, houses, temples, tombs, &c. Its flight is very like that of C. apus, but rather less powerful; its call is similar, but even shriller. Its nests vary in shape and materials; they consist of feathers, grass, or straw, with an occasional admixture of wool, twine, or rags, cemented together with saliva. Generally several nests are found clustered together. In some cases this Swift is said to lay its eggs in deserted Swallows' nests, and this doubtless accounts for some observers having supposed that it used mud in building. The eggs are from 2 to 4, generally 3 in number, white, not glossy as a rule, long ovals, measuring on an average .87 by .57. The breeding-season lasts from February to August, both months included, two broods being produced in the year. The same nest is used by a pair several times.