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American Black Swift (Cypseloides niger)


American Black Swift Nestling (Cypseloides niger)

The bird genus Cypseloides consist of 9 species that are found in the Americas – mostly in Central and South America, the exceptions being the American Black, Spot-fronted, White-fronted and Chestnut-collared Swifts.


Recognized Subspecies and Ranges:

  • Spot-fronted Swift (Cypseloides cherriei) –
    • Range: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Venezuela.
  • White-chinned Swift (Cypseloides cryptus)
    • Range: Central and South American countries of Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela
  • Sooty Swift (Cypseloides fumigatus)
    • Range: South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.
  • White-chested Swift (Cypseloides lemosi)
    • Range: South America: Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
  • Rothschild’s Swift (Cypseloides rothschildi)
    • Range: South American swift found in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru
  • Great Dusky Swift (Cypseloides senex)
    • Range: South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay
  • White-fronted Swift (Cypseloides storeri)
    • Range: Mexico
  • Chestnut-collared Swift (Cypseloides rutilus)
    • Range: Mexico and Trinidad south to Peru and Bolivia.
  • American Black Swift (Cypseloides niger)
    • Range: Found in the mountainous regions of the western United States and Canada.



Their plumages is mostly black of brown – except for the White-chested and Spot-fronted Swifts.

They are typically seen in flight and their shapes are very similar. Identification is often made more difficult by the fact that they often occur in mixed flocks with other swifts.

Some populations are sedentary, while others migrate in large flocks to and from their breeding territories.


Breeding / Nesting

They typically breed near water. The nest is made of twigs, glued together with mud.

The average clutch consists of only 1 egg, sometimes 2. The incubation lasts for 23 to 27 days. The chicks are fed only once a day by both parents -usually at dusk.


Diet / Feeding

These swifts mostly forage in flight, catching insects, such as flying ants and beetles. They are usually seen in feeding flocks, flying closely together.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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