Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Costa Rican Swift (Chaetura fumosa)


French: Martinet du Costa Rica German: Costa-Rica-Dornensegler Spanish: Vencejo costarricense
Other common names: Smoky Swift

Chætura fumosa


, 1870,

Bogaba, Chiriquí, Panama


Formerly placed in genus Acanthylis. For most of 20th century treated as a subspecies of C. spinicaudus, but morphological analysis#R indicates considerable size discrepancy between present species and C. s. aetherodroma of E Panama (effect size for published wing data 3.29), as well as darker ventral plumage and broader pale rump extending to tail-coverts. Monotypic.


SW Costa Rica E to W Panama (Chiriquí).

Descriptive notes

c. 11 cm. Blackish, slim-winged Chaetura, with sharply contrasting pale rump-band and obviously pale throat; plumage mostly sooty-black, glossed blue, with pale... read more


Several high-pitched calls such as single “weet”, “tsew” or “tsee” notes, which are usually... read more


Recorded over forest, semi-open areas, pastures and agricultural land, generally below 900 m, but... read more

Food and feeding

No known differences between this species and C. spinicaudus; like latter, frequently joins large, mixed-species foraging flocks... read more


No information.


Considered resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Often the commonest Chaetura within its range, being especially abundant in lowlands of Costa Rica, e.g. in Golfo Dulce, but is considered... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Costa Rican Swift (Chaetura fumosa). 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 18 February 2020).