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Vaux's Swift

ID Info
Silhouette SwiftsSwifts
Vaux's SwiftChaetura vauxi
  • ORDER: Caprimulgiformes
  • FAMILY: Apodidae

Basic Description

An aerialist of western forests, Vaux’s Swift is a dark, tiny-bodied, narrow-winged bird much like the Chimney Swift of the eastern U.S. They spend most of the day in the air, taking small insects and spiders in rapid, twisting flight. They roost and even nest communally in hollow trees in mature evergreen forests (less often in chimneys). Adults construct a nest of twigs, cemented with their saliva to the inside of a tree cavity, and roost near the nest, clinging vertically to the side of the cavity.

More ID Info
image of range map for Vaux's Swift
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

To find a swift, look to the sky. For Vaux’s Swifts, try scanning above the treetops, especially of mature coniferous forests—and be sure to look in summer since this species spends winters in Central and South America. Other places to look include areas rich in flying insects, including forest openings, edges of waterways, and over burned areas. Check your local bird club for “swift watches” that may happen in September, as flocks of Vaux’s Swifts gather to roost, often in chimneys, prior to their main southward migration.

Other Names

  • Vencejo de Vaux (Spanish)
  • Martinet de Vaux (French)
  • Cool Facts