Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Great Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila sanctihieronymi)


French: Martinet de San Geronimo German: Großer Schwalbensegler Spanish: Vencejo tijereta grande

Panyptila sancti-hieronymi


, 1863,

San Jerónimo, Vera Paz, Guatemala




Mountains of S Mexico (Nayarit and Jalisco S to Chiapas) and C Guatemala to N Nicaragua. Recorded also in Costa Rica.

Descriptive notes

18–20 cm; 50 g. Large swift with long thin wings and long, very deeply forked tail; black upperhead, white collar ­contiguous with large white throat, and black... read more


Commonest calls include a reedy phrase of fast twittering notes commencing and terminating in drawn... read more


Main habitats defined as montane evergreen forest, pine forest, secondary forest and arid montane... read more

Food and feeding

2 stomachs contained large numbers of winged termites and single pentatomid bugs (Solubea pugnax). One of least gregarious apodids... read more


Very large tube-like nest, 660 × 150 mm, adhered along length, consisting of felt-like plant material agglutinated with saliva, with... read more


Generally considered resident, though series of Costa Rican and Nicaraguan records in Sept–... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common in Mexico and Guatemala; considered common in Honduras. Only recorded from Mexico for first time as recently as 1944, and... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Great Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila sanctihieronymi). 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).