Cypseloides niger
(Black Swift)

Order: Apodiformes
Order Description: Swifts, Hummingbirds
Family: Apodidae
Family Description: Swifts

Physical Description:
7-7 1/2" (18-19 cm). A large sooty black swift with a notched tail and sickle-shaped wings. At close range, a touch of white can be seen on the forehead. Feathers of immatures are edged with white.

Similar Species- White-throated, Vaux's, and Chimney Swifts

More silent than other swifts. Occasionally gives a soft, high-pitched twitter.

Breeds from southeastern Alaska and western Canada, south to southern California, northwestern Montana, Colorado, Utah, northern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona. Winters in Mexico and Costa Rica.

Found in montane habitats. In Idaho, prefers higher-elevation mountains.

Feeds on insects (e.g., caddisflies, mayflies, beetles, flesh flies, hymenopterans).

Requires moist cliff environment for nesting. Builds cup-shaped nest of mud, mosses, and algae on cliff ledge, near or behind waterfalls, or in shallow cave. Nests in colonies. Nest site persistence and tenacity are almost absolute. Catches prey in air, often at great heights.

Female lays 1 egg in June or July. Incubation lasts 24-27 days and fledging occurs at 45-49 days. Nestling is altricialClick word for definition.

Element Code: ABNUA01010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1,NTMB
National Rank: N4B

Important State References:
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1987. The status of rare birds in Idaho. Murrelet 69:69-93.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.