Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis)


French: Martinet à gorge blanche German: Weißbrustsegler Spanish: Vencejo gorjiblanco

Acanthylis saxatalis


, 1853,

Inscription Rock, New Mexico, USA


Previously placed in genus Apus. Present species and A. montivagus apparently more closely related to each other than either is to A. andecolus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. saxatalis (Woodhouse, 1853) – SW Canada (S British Columbia) S through W USA to S Mexico (Oaxaca) W of Caribbean lowlands.
  • A. s. nigrior Dickey & van Rossem, 1928 – highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas) to C Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–18 cm; male mean 34·2 g, female mean 32·3 g. Plumage pattern very distinctive; only other swifts with some white in plumage sharing part of same range... read more


    Gives a shrill, descending “skeeeeee” or “kee-kee-kee-kee”, audible at long range and given... read more


    A montane species found to 3000 m in Mexico and 2450 m in Guatemala, but sometimes descending to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Total of 21 stomachs contained Diptera, mainly Anthomyiidae, with fewer Dolichipodidae, Sarcophagidae and Bibionidae, Coleoptera,... read more


    Laying early May to late Jun, peaking late May to early Jun, California; clutches ­recorded mid-May to early Jul and broods early Jun... read more


    Nominate race partial migrant. Present British Columbia in far N of range, early Apr to late Sept,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout much of North American range, but rare in Mexico and uncommon in Honduras. Considered uncommon to fairly common in recent census of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis). 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 27 February 2020).