Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Alternative name: American Black Swift
A fairly large (15-18 cm (6-7.25 ins) in the nominate form of West Indies) black swift with slightly notched and relatively long tail.
 Geographic variation
The Black Swift is distributed from SE Alaska through SW USA, and Mexico to Costa Rica, and in the West Indies to Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana. Even southern populations (e.g., in the Lesser Antilles) are migratory, presumably wintering in South America, while the species is present year round in Hispaniola and Jamaica.
It's considered to have three subspecies:
In the north of its range in a variety of open highland habitat. In the south around montane evergreen forest, also secondary growth. In eastern Caribbean, they often seem absent in good weather due to hunting very high, but in bad weather may hunt all the way down to sea level.
Like other Swifts highly gregarious, sometimes seen in flocks numbering hundreds or thousands of birds, often together with other Swift species. May travel long distances between nestplaces and feeding grounds.
Feeds on various insects, eg. wasps, bees or ants, taken in flight.
Nests in June in the USA, earlier (May) in the south. Often near waterfalls. Needs darkness, water, inaccessibility, a good flyway, high relief and a rock niche to build its pad of moss and twigs, bound with mud. Lays one egg. Copulation takes place in flight, like in other Swift species.
Call: a rapid, repetitive ci-chi-chi-chit
 External Links