White-throated Swift (aeronautes saxatalis)

White-throated Swift

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Apodidae | [latin] aeronautes saxatalis | [UK] White-throated Swift | [FR] Martinet des rochers | [DE] Weissbrust-Segler | [ES] Vencejo Gorgiblanco, Vencejo Montanes, Vencejo Cuello Blanco (HN) | [NL] Bonte Gierzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Aeronautes saxatalis NA, MA w
Aeronautes saxatalis nigrior s Mexico to c Honduras
Aeronautes saxatalis saxatalis sw Canada to w Mexico

Physical charateristics

Known from other North American swifts by its contrasting i black and white pattern. Underparts white, with black side patches.

Listen to the sound of White-throated Swift

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/White-throated Swift.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America, Middle America : West


Open sky, cruising widely. May be seen in the air over virtually any western habitat, wherever there might be flying insects. Breeds in crevices in cliffs, mostly in dry mountains and canyons, locally on sea cliffs.


Many details of nesting remain unknown, partly because nests are so inaccessible. Courtship involves aerial displays; birds also mate while in flight, sometimes joining and then tumbling down together for hundreds of feet.
b Nest: Si
te is usually in narrow vertical crevice in high cliff, in very inaccessible place. Sometimes nests in crevices in buildings. Same site may be used for years. Nest is shaped like shallow basket or half saucer; made of feathers, weeds, grasses, glued toget
her and to wall of crevice with the birds’ saliva.
b Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-6. White, often becoming stained or spotted in the nest. Incubation behavior and timing not well known.
b Young: Probably fed by both parents, but details poorly known. Young are probably able to climb about inside nesting crevice before old enough to fly. Development of young and age at first flight not well known.

Feeding habits

Flying insects. Feeds on a wide variety of flying insects, including flies, beetles, true bugs, wasps, bees, leafhopp
ers, and many others. May feed heavily on winged adult ants during an emergence of these insects.
b Behavior: Forages only in flight, scooping up insects in its wide gaping mouth. May forage high or low, depending on weather conditions. Typically seen foraging in flocks.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
White-throated Swift status Least Concern


From southern British Columbia and western United States to Honduras. b Migration:
Northern breeders move south in fall; found all year in much of Southwest (only swift likely to be seen in North America in winter). During cool winter weather, may become torpid to conserve energy.

Distribution map

White-throated Swift distribution range map

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