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White-throated Swift

ID Info
  • White-throated Swift
  • White-throated Swift
  • White-throated Swift  video
Silhouette SwiftsSwifts
White-throated SwiftAeronautes saxatalis
  • ORDER: Caprimulgiformes
  • FAMILY: Apodidae

Basic Description

White-throated Swifts are hallmarks of the cliffs and canyon walls of scenic western North America. These striking black-and-white birds seem to defy physics as they dive, twist, and turn at incredible speeds, pursuing insects aloft. Courting birds make spectacular dives toward earth, one clinging to the back of the other, separating as they pull out of the plummet just above the ground. They nest in crevices in sheer cliffs, using their saliva to glue a little cup of twigs and moss to the vertical wall.

More ID Info
image of range map for White-throated Swift
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

In spring and summer, White-throated Swifts are very conspicuous in the early morning and late afternoon, as flocks gather to depart for foraging areas or return to nest sites. They return to traditional nesting areas decade after decade, so asking local birders, joining a bird club walk, or using eBird maps can help you get oriented. Listen for their piercing, almost grating calls, and scan the sky for fast, slender shaped birds with much narrower wings than swallows.

Other Names

  • Vencejo Gorjiblanco (Spanish)
  • Martinet à gorge blanche (French)
  • Cool Facts