What Is “Swiftlet Fooding Behaviour”?

Good morning to all readers.

Today I intend to write about this special terms call ” Swiftlet Fooding Behaviors”.

I read in a few of the reference books that I have and it is very nice if every Birdnest enthusiasts to at least digest and expose to the term.

Fooding Behavior is termed as the normal daily movement of swiftlet searching for food. They have a peculiar behaviour in searching for food the moment they come out of their nesting house or caves.

If U understand their behavior U can then be a better swiftlet rancher.

The swiftlets will start leaving the nesting caves or houses as early at 5.15am (much earlier then me). Their first area to look for food is areas around the cave/house. This will the areas closed to or surrounding the BH. They will spend about one to two hours here.

Once they are satisfied that the food is no more heavy they will start to move towards a newer destination especially flat areas like padi fields, grass fields and so on. They will spend about 1-2 hours.

Once the flying insects are not many they will then continue their journey to the higher and further locations especially towards those Kampung and plantations. By this time there are lots of insects starting their pollonisation of those tree’s flowers. The best will be those plam oil plantations.

By noon their destinations will be the forest canopy. Lots of insects seem to be emitted from those forest canopies or from those ripe fruits (figs trees). This fooding above forest canopy will last for 3 to 4 hours. Normally from 11.00 am till 4:00pm.

What next? By 4.00, once the insects quantity is lessening, their next destination will be those water sources like lakes, rivers and canals. It seem that those young insects will pupate and leave their shell at around 4:00 till late in the evening. Those swiftlets will be a good time cathting and eating those fresh insects.They do this until the end of the day.

The birds will normally fly home at around 5.25 till 7:00pm (West Indonesia time). Most of these birds will be inside their respective BHs by about 7:00pm however during dry seasons they might come back at late as 8:00pm.

Swiftlet eat their food on the flight. They do not behave likes other birds where they catch the food and rest on trees to swallow their food.

Swiftlet body construction is geared toward flying the whole day without any rest and come home to their home to rest, sleep, make love or feed their babies.

It is observed that while on the way back to their home they will take the opportunity to visit the rice fields and makes a last minute dash for food around the cave/house.

If you read carefully about their fooding patten, you might realised that these birds are intelligent beings. They know exactly where they can find the most insect at a particular time of the day.

If you wanted to conduct birdcall test (tes lokasi), I advise you to follow the above explaination on how to choose the right time for a particular type of land. Example for flat land test it in the morning before 10:00am. For a plantation you test it at around 10:00 till 11:30am and near to a forest test it at 11:30 until 2pm. If your property is closed to a river or lakes try at 4:30 onwards.

Base on the above Fooding Behavior, it is recommended that birdhouse owners should provide a kind of food for the swiftlet to catch when they are out in the morning and when they are back in the evening.

The best is to plant those plant species that will generate insects, like Cemara (Chinese term: Lao Gondang) and Mini Lamtoro (Chinese Beans Plan) around the house – U can contact me if you need the seed. If the piece of land is reasonably big, create fish/prawn ponds around the house. The plants and the pond not only will provide insects but will also provide a cooler air.

Better if a suitable den (like a small chicken den) where U can place rotten papayas or pineapples or star fruits or any type of fruits that will breed small insects. Once these insect fly out of the den, it will become food to your swiftlets.


About hdhew
I am a Computer Engineer graduated 2004 from an university in NSW Australia, a businessman and owner of few successful swiftlet farmer in Indonesia and have helped many others to successfully set up their swiftlet farm by providing free advice and supplying right tools and sounds in Indonesia and many others countries.

2 Responses to What Is “Swiftlet Fooding Behaviour”?

  1. andy wong says:


    It is interesting information. I want to enter this business as well. Based on your experience, where is the best location and how to go about it?

    I also graduated from UNSW in Mechanical Engineering.


    • hdhew says:

      There is no possibility to pin point where is the best location to start your bh. The best way to decide where is to drive around at noon about 6pm or after big rain to find a big number of swiftlet fly around. If u do found that place then try to call it with the Location Test sound to see the responds.
      After u build your bh u can contact me again for the best external and internal sound. Tx

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