White-collared Swift Identification

White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) Data Sheet

White-collared Swift, Streptoprocne zonaris

The White-collared Swift, Streptoprocne zonaris, is a resident breeding bird from central Mexico, east and south to the Greater Antilles and Trinidad in the Caribbean, south to southeastern Brazil, Peru and northern Argentina in South America.

This is a highly gregarious species, with flocks of 100 or more birds, and often in company with other swift species. It has a powerful, fast and direct flight, and will ascend thermals to great heights.


This very large swift builds a saucer nest of mud, moss and chitin on a ledge in a cave, usually behind a waterfall, and lays two white eggs between March and July. It breeds in the mountains and foothills, but forages over a much larger area, including lowlands.


White-collared Swift is a massive and powerful species, 20-22 cm long, and weighing 90-96 g. It has a very slightly forked tail, which often appears square.

The adults are black, glossed blue on the back, and have a white collar, broader and duller on the breast than the hindneck.

Young birds are duller than adults, and the collar is reduced or absent.

Calls / Vocalizations

This noisy swift has a screeching chee-yar! call, which may be given in chorus by a flock

Diet / Feeding

White-collared Swift feeds in flight on flying insects, including beetles, bees and flying ants.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Streptoprocne zonaris. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Chantler and Driessens, Swifts ISBN 1-873403-83-6
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
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