Birda Logo

Grey-rumped Swift

Chaetura cinereiventris

The Grey-rumped Swift, known scientifically as Chaetura cinereiventris, is a small, agile bird, approximately 10.5 cm in length and weighing around 17 grams. It is characterized by its protruding head, short square tail, and distinctive wings that are both bulging in the middle and slightly hooked at the ends. The plumage of adults is predominantly glossy black on the upperparts with a contrasting wide gray rump and uppertail coverts, while the underparts are a lighter shade of gray.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Grey-rumped Swift, look for its glossy black upperparts and the namesake grey rump which is quite conspicuous. The bird's underparts are a paler gray, with the undertail coverts being darker. Juveniles resemble adults but have pale fringes on their wing feathers. The swift's flight is rapid and direct, with quick wingbeats, aiding in its identification.


This species is quite adaptable, inhabiting a range of environments from lowland tropical evergreen forests to montane regions, and even secondary forests. It can be found from sea level up to elevations of 1,800 meters.


The Grey-rumped Swift has a broad distribution across the Americas, from Honduras through South America, excluding Chile, French Guiana, Suriname, and Uruguay. It is also present in Trinidad and Tobago, and on the island of Grenada.


Grey-rumped Swifts are year-round residents throughout most of their range, with some evidence suggesting they may be breeding visitors in Paraguay and Argentina. They are often seen foraging in flocks, which can include a mix of swift species and sometimes swallows.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Grey-rumped Swift includes a bright, repeated short 'tsip' and a series of slightly downslurred burry drawn-out notes that sound like 'trrreeew-trrreeew-trrreeew'. These calls are similar across the subspecies, with slight variations.


Breeding seasons vary by location, with examples being September to March in southeastern Brazil and March to July in Costa Rica. The swifts construct half-cup nests on vertical walls within structures like chimneys. Both parents share incubation duties at night, though the incubation period and fledging time remain unknown.

Similar Species

The Grey-rumped Swift can be confused with other Chaetura species, but its wide grey rump and specific vocalizations are key differentiators.

Diet and Feeding

As aerial insectivores, Grey-rumped Swifts capture flying ants, bees, wasps, beetles, and flies while in flight. They are adept at foraging in flocks, which allows them to efficiently find and capture their prey.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Grey-rumped Swift as Least Concern. With an estimated population of 50 million mature individuals and a vast range, the species does not face any immediate threats, although there is a slow decline in numbers. It is one of the most common Chaetura swifts within its range and is abundant in certain areas, with several populations residing in protected regions.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Grey-rumped Swifts on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Profile picture for Ben Gloag
Ben Gloag
27 Mar 2024 - 12:01am

More Swifts

A photo of a Himalayan Swiftlet (Aerodramus brevirostris)

Himalayan Swiftlet

Aerodramus brevirostris
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Gets me outdoors more
I'm still loving this app. I use it most days & gets me outdoors more. Enjoying watching others progress and photo's, it's improved my wellbeing.... I love this app! I can keep a record of sightings and see what others have seen too.
Robred 2
Fun way to add to your birdwatching experience
I enjoy watching birds in my backyard, but this app helped me really pay attention while on vacation this summer. It was fun to add new birds to my bird watching app.
Ideal Birdwatch Companion
Simply adds to the enjoyment of my birdwatching and helps me record what I’ve seen.
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
Carl B
Helped me to identify more birds
Love this app and has helped me to identify more birds. The challenges and badges are great for keeping the motivation going to get out and keep birding.
Safira V
Birding and wellbeing app
Birda is an excellent platform to share your love of Birding and is a great tool of encouragement for a Birding Beginner like me. Birda has a very kind and supportive community of Birding enthusiasts. For me BIRDA is not only a BIRDING but also a WELLBEING App.
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Emma L
App got me interested in birding!
Super friendly community <3 This app got me interested in birding! It teaches me cool stuff and its super friendly, and fun :) The species guide is really developing my knowledge, and i love seeing cool new birds from round the world!
Nick S
Work together with community
Been loving using this app to log my bird sightings and work together with community members to identify different birds. I've already learned a lot since I started about a month ago!
Learning Birding with Birda
I’m relatively new to birding as a hobby, and Birda is a great way to keep track off all the species I see. I’m still working on my ID skills, but the app is great for figuring out potential species, and the online community is so friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend Birda to both early and serious birders! 🐦
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
© 2024 All rights reserved