Sicks Swift (Chaetura meridionalis)

Sicks Swift

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Apodidae | [latin] Chaetura meridionalis | [UK] Sicks Swift | [FR] Martinet de Sick | [DE] Sicks-Segler | [ES] Vencejo de tormenta | [NL] Sicks Gierzwaluw


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Upperparts dark smoky brown. Rump and upper tail-coverts smoky tail. Tail ashy grey with dark shafts and protruding spines, Throat grey, lower underparts dark brown, bill and legs black.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : Central, Southeast


The preferred habitat is forest and woodland, but it can be seen flying over virtually any habitat during migration.


The nest, typically placed in a chimney or a hollow tree, is an open cup similar in construction to that of the Chimney Swift. Constructed almost entirely of one type of dry leaf stalks having a length of 5 cm. The structure of the nest lacks density and is transparent. Adhesive saliva is used on the place of the attachment of the nest and to a lesser degree on its front side. The nest does not have a rear wall, which is represented by the side of the tree. the breeding period of the Chaetura corresponds with the end of the dry season to the beginning of the rainy period. Theis reused until it falls down, on which occasion the same location is used to built a new nest. Clutch size is 3-5 eggs, the female incubates but both parents feed the young.

Feeding habits

Sick’s Swift feeds in flight on flying insects. It is often low over roads or clearings in the morning or evening, rising high above the forest, often with other swifts, in the middle of the day.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Sicks Swift status Least Concern


It breeds in south-eastern Brazil and adjacent parts of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, but is believed to spend the Austral winter further north in the Amazon basin, northern South America and Panama. Its exact wintering range is, however, poorly known due to the highly complex matter of field identification of a number of very similar Chaetura swifts found in central and northern South America. In addition to the previously mentioned countries, there are records from Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana.

Distribution map

Sicks Swift distribution range map

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