Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Biscutate Swift (Streptoprocne biscutata)


French: Martinet à collier interrompu German: Schildsegler Spanish: Vencejo nuquiblanco brasileño

Chaetura biscutata

P. L. Sclater

, 1866,

Rio de Janeiro and Ypanema, São Paulo, Brazil


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. b. seridoensis Sick, 1991 – NE Brazil from S Piauí E to Rio Grande do Norte#R (breeding area unknown).
  • S. b. biscutata (P. L. Sclater, 1866) – E Brazil from Minas Gerais S to Rio Grande do Sul; also recorded in Mato Grosso (Chapada dos Guimarães), Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    22 cm; 85–100 g. Large swift with long broad wings, sturdy body and square tail; black-brown with white nape and white upper-breast patches; paler fore-face and... read more


    Very similar if not identical to S. zonaris. Commonest call is a loud, bright “cleeee” or... read more


    Main habitats have been defined as tropical lowland evergreen forest, montane evergreen forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Highly gregarious, frequently feeding in numbers around waterfalls. Where sympatric with S. zonaris, such as Itatiaia Mts, Rio de... read more


    Season in Minas Gerais, Oct–Dec; birds in breeding condition, Rio Grande do Sul, early Oct. Nests on horizontal ledges in large dry... read more


    Not fully understood. Breeding areas of Seridó roosting population (seridoensis)... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened, though it has been suggested that population requires monitoring. Common to abundant, Rio Grande do Sul. At Seridó, 90,000–100,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Biscutate Swift (Streptoprocne biscutata). 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 28 February 2020).