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Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Apodiformes
 Family: Apodidae
 Genus: Chaetura
ICUN Redlist - World Status: near threatenedNear Threatened


If you hear chattering coming from your chimney, you may have yourself a chimney swift! Only four inches long, the chimney swift is a small, dark gray bird with a white throat. It is unable to perch, but instead uses its long claws to cling to the walls of vertical surfaces, like chimneys. The chimney swift can be seen soaring through the air, where it spends most of its time.


In the summer, the chimney swift lives and breeds throughout the eastern half of the United States and southeastern Canada. In the winter, it is found in the South American countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.


Before Europeans settled North America, the chimney swift probably nested in caves and hollow trees. With the construction of chimneys, the Swift began using chimneys as their preferred nesting site. The chimney swift builds its nest on a vertical surface, a necessary feature of its habitat. It prefers forests, open country, and towns.


The chimney swift feeds on flying insects that it gathers while flying over forests, open land or more developed settings.

Life Cycle

The chimney swift builds its nest on the inside of a chimney or other vertical surface. The nest is in the shape of a bowl cut in half and made of small twigs woven together. The swift uses saliva to glue the nest to the wall.

The female lays 3-7 glossy white eggs, which both parents incubate for about three weeks. Young chicks first leave the nest after two weeks and take their first flight 30 days after hatching.


Chimney SwiftMembers of this family are among the fastest fliers in the bird world. Swifts spend all of their daylight hours flying and come home to rest only after the sun goes down.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Chris Harrison cc logo