Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Near Threatened

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; 21 g. Medium-sized swift with short square tail, rectrix spines up to 7·5 mm beyond web, protruding head and distinctive wing shape, with hooked outer... 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

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened, due to pupulation declines. Common and widespread throughout most of range. Rare and occasional breeder in W... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2017). 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 22 November 2017).