Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
More discoveries. NEW: Zeiss Victory SF 32

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

neotropical Swift ID

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Saturday 30th April 2005, 15:47   #1
Jacamar
Senior Member
 
Jacamar's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,504
neotropical Swift ID

I've been seeing a small group of swifts flying around my house but I am having trouble identifying them. I am thinking that they might be Short-tailed Swifts (Chaetura brachyura).

I have only managed to note a few features as they zip around in the sky above my house.
(1) It is a Chaetura sp. (I've ruled out the larger swifts becuase of their size and a few others because of obvious differences). (2) It has grey on its rump which appears to extend onto its tail as well. (3) It has no striking white areas on its body. As far as I can tell, it is all black with a grey rump and tail. (4)Its tail is about equal in length to its head.

With the combination of these few features and the habitat (a village mostly surrounded by sugar cane fields and bushy areas, situated next to the river), is it possible to ID it?
Thanks.

Note: There are 4 possible Chaetura species in Guyana.

Chapman's Swift (C. chapmani)
Short-tailed Swift (C. brachyura)
Band-rumped Swift (C. spinicauda)
Grey-rumped Swift (C. cinereiventris)

Taken from Braun, M. J., D. W. Finch, M. B. Robbins, and B. K. Schmidt. 2000. A field checklist of the birds of Guyana.
__________________
Chris

Last edited by Jacamar : Saturday 30th April 2005 at 15:53.
Jacamar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 30th April 2005, 16:37   #2
Rasmus Boegh
BF member
 
Rasmus Boegh's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: right next door
Posts: 3,812
Neotropical swifts can be very difficult and some species probably can't be ID'ed for certain in the field. A few hints on Chaetura Swifts in Guyana:

Grey-rumped: Grey (not white or brownish) patch on rump extents onto tail. Shift from black back to grey rump is clean-cut and the contrats is obvious. Underparts usually dark greyish, slightly paler on throat.

Band-rumped: In Guyana the whitish patch on the rump is quite narrow and it certainly doesn't extent onto the tail. It contrasts strongly with the rest of the dark upperparts. Underparts dark grey and throat usually appear whitish.

Short-tailed: Has a very short tail and the pale patch on the rump extents onto the tail - only the very tip is dark (usually, the complete upperside of the tail appear pale in the field). Appear broader-winged than the previous two species. Appear all dark below. The wing-beats of this species are noticably slower than the wing-beats of the other members of this genus.

Chapman's Swift: Rump brownish-grey (incl. most of the tail), but contrast with black back relatively small (the change from the greyish-brown rump to the black back isn't as clean-cut as in the previous species). Underparts appear dark brownish-grey, the throat often being marginally paler. Larger than the three species mentioned previously. Only recorded infrequently.

Ashy-tailed: Not mentioned by you, but probably occur in Guyana even if it hasn't been recorded there yet. Very similar to Chapman's (incl. size) and it is doubtful the two can be separated for certain in the field. Ashy-tailed is marginally browner above (the back of Chapman's is a bit blacker). Furthermore, the undertail coverts are marginally paler than the rest of the dark brownish-grey underparts (undertail coverts concolour with the rest of the underparts in Chapman's). Would be an austral migrant in Guyana and can be expected in the South Hemisphere winter.

Regularly, several species can be seen in a single flock, so look out for "strange individuals" that appear different in size or shape compared to the remaining individuals in the flock.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Saturday 30th April 2005 at 17:43.
Rasmus Boegh is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2008 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Saturday 30th April 2005, 17:27   #3
Jacamar
Senior Member
 
Jacamar's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,504
Thanks for the info, Rasmus. One problem for me is that I have never seen any other swifts than these, so I can't tell if it is "bigger than Short-tailed" or "broader-winged than Grey-rumped", although I am sure these hints will be helpful. I do not see these birds often, and, as you know, it's not easy to keep your bins on them.

BTW, do you think I could eliminate any of these species by habitat?
Thanks
__________________
Chris
Jacamar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 30th April 2005, 17:35   #4
Rasmus Boegh
BF member
 
Rasmus Boegh's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: right next door
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacamar
BTW, do you think I could eliminate any of these species by habitat?
Not for certain. The commonest species in Guyana is likely to be the Band-rumped.
Rasmus Boegh is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2008 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Swift 828HHS Bins - Any opinions ? rka Swift 55 Tuesday 4th July 2006 23:21
Swift?? timmyjones Bird Identification Q&A 7 Tuesday 5th April 2005 19:25
Swift ID Jacamar Bird Identification Q&A 0 Friday 6th August 2004 20:19
Band-rumped / Costa Rican Swift fhs Birds & Birding 1 Thursday 13th May 2004 15:06
Alpine Swift in Scarborough and a very unhappy digiscoper. tom mckinney Your Birding Day 16 Thursday 1st April 2004 09:03



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.11264610 seconds with 16 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 17:57.