Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Southern Swift (Chaetura meridionalis)


French: Martinet de Sick German: Grauschwanzsegler Spanish: Vencejo de tormenta
Other common names: Sick's Swift, Ashy-tailed Swift (when combined with Chaetura vauxi andrei)

Chaetura andrei meridionalis


, 1907,

Santiago del Estero, Argentina


Until recently considered a race of C. andrei, but latter now adjudged a subspecies of C. vauxi and present form (which is much longer-winged and longer-tailed than C. v. andrei, and with different underpart pattern) found to be extremely close morphologically to C. pelagica (best separated by differences in wing formula, as P9 is 3–8 mm longer than P10 whereas in C. pelagica both are equal), so possibility of conspecificity high#R; study needed. Monotypic.


E & SE Bolivia, SE & S Brazil, Paraguay and N Argentina; winters N to Panama, Colombia and French Guiana.

Descriptive notes

11·5–13·5 cm; mean 21·5 g, one female 19·5 g. Medium-sized swift with short square tail between C. brachyura and other Chaetura in length, and rectrix... read more


Variously described as a low-pitched “chu-chu-chu-chu” preceded by a rattling chipper (Paraguay),... read more


Generally recorded in the lowlands, over edges of evergreen forest, secondary forest and second-... read more

Food and feeding

Diet apparently unrecorded (beyond insects), although presumably similar to those of other Chaetura. Usually observed in... read more


Season reported Oct–Nov, in Mato Grosso, late Aug–Jan, in S Brazil, and Sept–Mar in SE Brazil, laying in late Nov in São Paulo. Nests... read more


At least partly migratory, crossing equator to reach Roraima from May; recorded in austral winter... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common within breeding range, though less often found within wintering range, and is most abundant Brazilian swift away from Amazon, though rare in... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Southern Swift (Chaetura meridionalis). 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 19 February 2020).