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Chestnut-collared Swift

Streptoprocne rutila

The Chestnut-collared Swift, a member of the swift family Apodidae, is a small, agile bird with a distinctive rufous collar. It measures 12 to 14 cm in length and weighs approximately 21 grams. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males sporting a more pronounced rufous collar than females.

Identification Tips

Adult males of the nominate subspecies, Streptoprocne rutila rutila, have a sooty blackish-brown upper body, a slightly paler rump, and a blackish-brown tail. Their facial feathers are grayish-brown, with a narrow black patch around the eye. The rufous collar is wide and extends to the nape. Females are paler with a less distinct collar. Juveniles resemble females but are overall paler. The subspecies S. r. griseifrons and S. r. brunnitorques vary slightly in plumage coloration.

Habitat

The Chestnut-collared Swift is found in diverse environments, including montane and pine-oak forests, semi-deciduous and evergreen forests, semi-open areas, and human settlements. It thrives from lowlands to high elevations, reaching up to 3,100 meters in Bolivia.

Distribution

This species ranges from Mexico and Trinidad southward to Peru and Bolivia. Its distribution is divided among three recognized subspecies, with S. r. griseifrons in western Mexico, S. r. brunnitorques in southeastern Mexico through Central America to the Andes, and S. r. rutila in the Andes and Coastal Ranges of Venezuela and Trinidad.

Behaviour

The Chestnut-collared Swift is a permanent resident within its range, though it may undertake local seasonal movements. It often forages in flocks, sometimes joining other swift species, and is known to feed on various insects, including flying ants and small beetles.

Song & calls

The flight call of the Chestnut-collared Swift is described as a buzzy sound, akin to electric crackles or static, which can sometimes form a continuous chatter.

Breeding

Breeding seasons vary by latitude, typically occurring from May to August north of the equator. The swift constructs nests of mud and plant material on rock ledges or similar structures in damp, shady locations. Both parents share incubation duties for the two-egg clutch, with a 22 to 23-day incubation period and fledging at five to six weeks.

Similar Species

The Chestnut-collared Swift can be distinguished from similar species by its size, the distinctive rufous collar, and its habitat preferences.

Diet and Feeding

This swift is an aerial insectivore, capturing various flying insects while in flight. It tends to forage in groups and may exhibit preferences for certain insects based on local availability.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Chestnut-collared Swift as Least Concern. It has a vast range and a sizeable estimated population, with no immediate threats identified. Human activity is believed to have minimal impact on this species.

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Chestnut-collared Swifts on Birda

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