Family Swifts (Apodidae)


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)


French: Martinet ramoneur German: Schornsteinsegler Spanish: Vencejo de chimenea

Hirundo Pelagica


, 1758,

South Carolina, USA


Previously considered conspecific with C. vauxi and C. chapmani. Recent study suggests that this species may be very closely related to and very possibly conspecific with C. meridionalis#R. Monotypic.


E North America from S Canada (E from SE Saskatchewan) S to W Texas and Gulf Coast; occasionally California and Arizona (SW USA). Winters in Colombia, E Ecuador, W & E Peru, NW Brazil and N Chile, though precise range unclear.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm; 17–29·8 g; wingspan 29–31 cm. Medium-sized swift with short square tail, rectrix spines up to 7·5 mm beyond web, protruding head and... read more


Main calls are a characteristic series of short single notes “tsip..tsip..tsip...tsip...tsip...”,... read more


Though readily associated with urban settings, also forages and breeds over variety of natural... read more

Food and feeding

Hymenoptera and Diptera recorded, among other insects. Food pellet may contain over 200 insects. Recorded taking a weevil (Curculionidae)... read more


Eggs recorded Illinois mid-May to early Jul, New York late May to early Jul, Virginia late May to mid-Jul, and Quebec mid-Jun to early Jul... read more


Present North America Apr–Sept. Migrates through West Indies late Aug to late Oct and mid-Apr... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Had recently been uplisted to Near Threatened (from Least Concern) due to pupulation declines, and in 2018 was considered globally threatened for the first time.... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica). 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).