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Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus cooki   - In flight
Fork-tailed Swift
Photographer : © Amar-Singh HSS
Location :main road along primary montane forest at 1200m, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Date : 25 March 2015
English synonyms:Large White-rumped Swift, White-rumped Swift, Pacific Swift, Northern White-rumped Swift, Australian Swift, Migrant Swift, Pacific Swift, White-belted Swift, Siberian White-rumped Swift, Rainbird, Rain-brother, Blyth's Swift (leuconyx), Cook's Swift (cooki), Sálim Ali's Swift (salimali)
Bird Family :Apodidae - Swifts, swiftlets and needletails
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :I saw for Fork-tailed Swifts in the late afternoon hawking for prey. I suspect they are the Apus pacificus cooki but would appreciate any confirmation.

Colour scheme was not easy in the bright light, against the sun, but they appeared rather dark. The white rump patch appeared narrow and the underwing coverts are darker/black and contrasting with the rest of the underwing. (Ref: Leader, P J. 2011. Taxonomy of the Pacific Swift Apus pacificus Latham, 1802, complex. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 131: 81-93. )

- Amar

Dave Bakewell has kindly confirmed ID that they are A. p. cooki subspecies.

Taxonomic Notes :Leader (2011) recommended that, due to differences in plumage and structure, Apus pacificus should be split into four separate species:
Pacific Swift Apus pacificus with subspecies kurodae
Sálim Ali's Swift Apus salimali
Blyth's Swift Apus leuconyx
Cook's Swift Apus cooki.

Subsequently, Päckert et al (2012), during a study designed to provide a wider molecular phylogeny of Old World swifts, found through molecular analysis that cooki is more closely related to Dark-rumped Swift Apus acuticauda than to Apus pacificus pacificus. They refrained from giving particular taxonomic recommendations due to limitations of sampling and suggested more genetic research needs to be carried out on the other forms currently assigned within Apus pacificus.

Dickinson & Remsen (2013) suggested that there may be some doubt regarding Leader's use of kurodae in preference to kanoi.

Pending further research and clarification, we retain the 'traditional' classification here.
Leader, P.J., (2011) Taxonomy of the Pacific Swift Apus pacificus Latham, 1802,complex. Bull. Brit. Ornithol. Club 131, 81–93.
Päckert, M., Martens, J., Wink, M., Feigl, A. & Tietze, D.T. (2012) Molecular phylogeny of Old World swifts (Aves: Apodiformes, Apodidae, Apus and Tachymarptis) based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63: 606‐616.
Dickinson, E.C. & Remsen, J. V. Jr. (2013) The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Vol. 1 Non-passerines. (4th edn.)