Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Band-rumped Swift (Chaetura spinicaudus)


French: Martinet spinicaude German: Dornensegler Spanish: Vencejo lomiblanco

Cypselus spinicaudus


, 1839,



Formerly placed in genus Acanthylis with following three species. Until recently, considered conspecific with C. fumosa (which see). Proposed races latirostris (E & S Venezuela) and aethalea (C Brazil) found to be indistinguishable from nominate#R, and are therefore synonymized with latter. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. aetherodroma Wetmore, 1951 – C Panama to W Colombia and S to SW Ecuador.
  • C. s. spinicaudus (Temminck, 1839) – E & S Venezuela, the Guianas and N & C Brazil (N Amapá, and E Amazonia E to Maranhão, with single record in Ceará, several in Alagoas and regular at one site in SE Pernambuco, NE Brazil).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–12·6 cm; 13·8–18·5 g. Smallish swift with short square tail, rectrix spines up to 5 mm beyond web; protruding head; typical wing... read more


    Nominate spinicaudus gives a diagnostic bisyllabic “pseee-trr” or more burry “prrrree-trtr... read more


    Main habitats defined as edge of lowland tropical evergreen forest and secondary forest. Occurs... read more

    Food and feeding

    Often feeds in crepuscular period over water. Single-species flocks most ­frequent at higher altitude. Forms feeding flocks with C... read more


    Feb–Jun on Trinidad; in breeding condition on lower R Cauca, Colombia, in Mar; aerial copulation and birds in breeding condition in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Often commonest Chaetura in areas of intrageneric sympatry. Considered most abundant swift in lowlands of S Venezuela;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Band-rumped Swift (Chaetura spinicaudus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).