Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi)


French: Martinet de Vaux German: Graubauchsegler Spanish: Vencejo de Vaux
Other common names: Ashy-tailed Swift (andrei, when this race merged with Chaetura meridionalis)

Cypcelus [sic] Vauxi

J. K. Townsend

, 1839,

Fort Vancouver, Washington, USA


Previously considered conspecific with C. pelagica and C. chapmani. Races richmondi (including ochropygia) and gaumeri previously considered as two distinct species. Race andrei, previously treated as a species with C. meridionalis as its subspecies (e.g. in HBW), but here considered a race of present species#R; proposed form aphanes (NE Venezuela) is a synonym of andrei. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. v. vauxi (J. K. Townsend, 1839) – Vaux's Swift – W North America from SW Canada (British Columbia) S in W USA to C California; winters in Mexico and Guatemala to Honduras.
  • C. v. tamaulipensis Sutton, 1941 – E Mexico (S Tamaulipas and SE San Luis Potosí).
  • C. v. gaumeri Lawrence, 1882 – Yucatan Swift – Yucatán Peninsula and Cozumel I.
  • C. v. warneri A. R. Phillips, 1966 – W Mexico (S Sinaloa to Oaxaca).
  • C. v. richmondi Ridgway, 1910 – Richmond's Swift – S Mexico (from S Veracruz) S to Costa Rica and W Panama (Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí).
  • C. v. ochropygia Aldrich, 1937 – C Panama E to Canal area, including Coiba I and Pearl Is.
  • C. v. andrei Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – Andre's Swift – N Venezuela, including Orinoco Valley.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13·5 cm; 15·25–22 g (race andrei). Medium-sized swift with short square tail, rectrix spines up to 8 mm beyond web, protruding head and... read more


    Main calls are a characteristic series of short single notes “tsip..tsip..tsip...tsip...tsip...” (... read more


    Found over wide range of habitats, including cloudforest at 1000 m in N Venezuela, arid areas of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Often forages in large numbers, also with hirundines and other swifts; race andrei usually observed in small numbers,... read more


    Mating displays seen and enlarged gonads in specimens taken in Mar–Apr in Panama; breeds Mar/Apr–Jul in Costa Rica, and May... read more


    Nominate race a migrant, present in far N of range May to mid-Sept, exceptionally late Mar on coast... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened(Least Concern). Common throughout most of range, though often locally, e.g. in Montana during 1970s considered common in Idaho county while rare in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi). 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 24 February 2020).