Unsorted Wild Birds

Bird Genus Chaetura – needletail swifts


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Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) - Adult at nest with chicks

Genus Chaetura is a genus of needletail swifts found in the Americas.

They resemble in general appearance and are commonly confused with swallows but they are not at all closely related to these (see also convergent evolution).

The genus name is derived from the Greek khaite for long flowing hair and oura for tail, referring to the stiff feathers projecting from the end of the tail.

    • Band-rumped Swift, Chaetura spinicauda Found in Costa Rica south and east to Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Guianas, Trinidad and northeast Brazil


    • Lesser Antillean Swift, Chaeturas martinica – Found on Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent. There is a possible record from Nevis. (All of which are islands in the Caribbean Sea.)


    • Grey-rumped Swift, Chaeturas cinereiventris – Found from Nicaragua south to Peru, Brazil and northern Argentina, and Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago


    • Pale-rumped Swift, Chaetura egregia – Found in South America – in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru


    • Chimney Swift, Chaetura pelagica – Breed in eastern North America and migrate as far south as eastern Peru and areas in South America.


    • Vaux’s Swift, Chaetura vauxi – Found in the highlands from southern Alaska to central California and from southern Mexico, the northern Yucatán Peninsula, to eastern Panama and northern Venezuela.


    • Chapman’s Swift, Chaetura chapmani – Found in the Central and South American countries: Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.


    • Short-tailed Swift, Chaetura brachyura – Found on Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and St Vincent, and in tropical South America from Panama, Colombia and the Guianas south to Ecuador, Peru and Brazil; in Brazil, the entire Amazon Basin, excluding much of the southeastern Basin.



    • Sick’s Swift, Chaetura meridionalis – Breed in south-eastern Brazil and adjacent parts of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, but are believed to spend the Austral (Southern Hemisphere) winter further north in the Amazon basin, northern South America and Panama


    • Amazonian Swift, Chaetura viridipennis – Found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.


  • Costa Rican Swift, Chaetura fumosa – Found in the following Central and South American countries: Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia;


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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