Sains Malaysiana 44(4)(2015): 497–502


Morphology Comparison of Swiftlet Species from Natural and Man-Made Habitats

in Malaysia

(Perbandingan Morfologi Spesies Burung Walit daripada Habitat Semula Jadi dan Buatan

di Malaysia)





1Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan



2Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan



Diserahkan: 23 Jun 2014/Diterima: 4 November 2014



In Malaysia, nests of Aerodramus fuciphagus (white-nest swiftlet) and Aerodramus maximus (black-nest swiftlet) are harvested for commercial purposes, as one of the most valuable animal products. The taxonomy of a species is crucial, as delineating species boundaries is fundamental to discover life’s diversity. However, swiftlet taxonomy has been controversial, due to numerous undefined parameters. Although there are these limitations, morphological taxonomy cannot be the unique approach for species identification and it is a valuable component in taxonomy studies. We have undertaken a morphological approach to analyse community relationships among species of swiftlets. In this study, we selected three different swiftlet species to generate two sets of comparisons: Within species and among different habitats. This study found that A. fuciphagus from man-made habitats is generally larger in size compared to the natural habitat and A. maximus is larger compared with A. fuciphagus. We postulate the difference in body size is due to dietary behaviour and genetic variations of the swiftlets.


Keywords: Black-nest swiftlet; habitats; morphology; species; white-nest swiftlet




Di Malaysia, sarang Aerodramus fuciphagus (burung walit sarang-putih) dan Aerodramus maximus (burung walit sarang-hitam) dituai untuk tujuan komersial dan ia merupakan salah satu produk haiwan yang paling berharga. Taksonomi spesies amat penting demi mengkaji kepelbagaian hidupan. Walau bagaimanapun taksonomi burung walit telah menimbulkan beberapa kontroversi kerana terdapat parameter yang kurang jelas. Walaupun taksonomi berdasarkan morfologi bukan pendekatan yang unik untuk pengenalpastian spesies kerana beberapa kekangan, ia merupakan komponen penting dalam kajian taksonomi. Kami telah menggunakan pendekatan morfologi untuk mengkaji kaitan komuniti dalam kalangan spesies burung walit. Kami telah menggunakan tiga spesies burung walit untuk menjana dua jenis perbandingan: Antara spesies dan antara pelbagai habitat. Kajian ini mendapati bahawa A. fuciphagus dari habitat buatan manusia secara umumnya mempunyai saiz lebih besar berbanding dengan A. fuciphagus daripada habitat semula jadi dan A. maximus adalah lebih besar berbanding dengan A. fuciphagus. Kami mengandaikan bahawa perbezaan saiz badan adalah disebabkan oleh pemakanan dan variasi genetik burung walit.


Kata kunci: Burung walit sarang hitam; burung walit sarang putih; habitat; morfologi; spesies




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