Monday, January 12, 2009

Edible nest Swiftlet.
This is Indian Swiftlet, or Indian Edible-nest Swiftlet. It is a small swift with mainly dark black / brown above and paler brown below. It has swept-back wings that resemble a boomerang. The body is slender, and the tail is short and only slightly indented. Indian Swiftlet has very short legs which it uses only for clinging to vertical surfaces, since swifts never settle voluntarily on the ground. Their wing’s muscles are very well developed so that they can fly very fast for long periods. They glide for some of the time but their maneuvers for catching their insect prey depend principally upon flapping flight. Their tails are reduced so the wings must be used for steering. The extreme efficiency of their flight allows then to spend the night on the wing, so many species may never land except for breeding. Even copulation and gathering of material for the nest can be accomplished on the wing.
The strangest nests of all are those built by the species of this Swiftlet in the genus Collocalia. They nest in caves and build their nests of saliva. To do this they have enlarged salivary glands during the breeding season. To make them even more amazing, these Swiflets often nest in pitch dark caves. They are able to do this by using echolocation, similar to bats. This species use saliva in their nests to glue grass blades together. Three species however, produce nests made almost entirely out of saliva. These are the nests used by star category hotels to prepare bird nest soup, one of the most expensive and tasteless dishes in the world.
Trade of Swiftlet nests began in China during the T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). China is the prime consumer of a soup made from these nests (bird's nest soup), which is considered the "caviar of the East". China is importing enormous amounts of ingredients for the soup from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia and even from India. Swiftlet nests are carefully removed from the cave walls. It results in a huge and unnecessary death of eggs and young birds. This is now threatening the swift populations and now added the bird and its nest to its lists of endangered species.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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