Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Grey-rumped Swift (Chaetura cinereiventris)


French: Martinet à croupion gris German: Graubürzelsegler Spanish: Vencejo ceniciento

Chætura cinereiventris

P. L. Sclater

, 1862,

Bahia, east Brazil


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. egregia, and these two and C. martinica previously placed in genus Acanthylis along with C. spinicaudus. All races except nominate cinereiventris have been grouped together in what may be an incipient species, C. sclateri; NHMUK specimens, however, suggest that morphological differences between this group and nominate are weak. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. phaeopygos Hellmayr, 1906 – NE Honduras#R, E Nicaragua to NW Panama.
  • C. c. occidentalis Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884 – W Colombia, W Ecuador and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • C. c. schistacea Todd, 1937 – Andes in W Venezuela (Mérida) and E Colombia (to Boyacá).
  • C. c. lawrencei Ridgway, 1893 – N Venezuela (including Margarita I), Trinidad, and S Lesser Antilles (Grenada).
  • C. c. guianensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1892 – E Venezuela and W Guyana.
  • C. c. sclateri Pelzeln, 1868 – Ashy-rumped Swift – S Venezuela patchily through S Colombia, NW Brazil (upper Amazonia) and E Peru to NW Bolivia.
  • C. c. cinereiventris P. L. Sclater, 1862 – Grey-rumped Swift – SE Brazil (S from SE Bahia), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5 cm; 13·5–20·5 g (race lawrencei). Smallish swift with short square tail, rectrix spines up to 7 mm beyond web, protruding head and... read more


    Main calls of race cinereiventris are a bright repeated short “tsip” and a characteristic... read more


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

    Food and feeding

    Flying ants, bees, wasps, beetles and flies taken. In a study in the Coastal Cordillera of Venezuela, prey items included c. 33%... read more


    Collected in breeding condition in N Antioquia, Colombia, in Mar–Apr; breeds in SE Brazil from Sept/Oct to Feb/Mar and in Costa Rica... read more


    Resident throughout much of range, though incompletely known. In Paraguay possibly a breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). One of the commonest Chaetura swifts throughout range, indeed abundant in some areas such as Río Negro Preserve,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Grey-rumped Swift (Chaetura cinereiventris). 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 2 April 2020).