Neotropical Birds
Version  1.0
This is a historic version of this account.   Current version

Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila

Thomas S. Schulenberg and Camile Shaw
Version: 1.0 — Published April 3, 2015


Distribution in the Americas

Chestnut-collared Swift occurs in montane regions from Mexico south to Panama, in the Andes from Venezuela south to Bolivia, in the coastal ranges of northern Venezuela, and on Trinidad. In western Mexico it occurs north to Durango (rarely? to Chihuahua), Zacatecas, and Sinaloa, and, in eastern Mexico, north to Hidalgo and Veracruz (Friedmann et al. 1950, Howell and Webb 1995). This swift is scare or absent in parts of northern Central America, and only recently has been reported from Belize (Valleley and Aversa 1997), El Salvador (Komar 2001), and Nicaragua (Martínez-Sánchez 2007).

Chestnut-collared Swift occurs in all three ranges of the Andes in Colombia (Hilty and Brown 1986); on both slopes of the Andes and in intermontane valleys in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a); on the west slope of the Andes of Peru south at least to Piura, along the entire east slope of the Andes, and locally in intermontane valleys (Schulenberg et al. 2010); and in Bolivia along the east slope of the Andes south to Santa Cruz (Hennessey et al. 2003). Chestnut-collared Swift also occurs in the Andes and coastal ranges of Venezuela, and on Trinidad (ffrench 1991, Hilty 2003).

Chestnut-collared Swift is resident throughout its range, although some earlier authors suspected that the northern populations were migratory (see also Geographic Variation); but this species ranges widely, and at least locally apparently makes some seasonal movements. For example, In the Distrito Federal of central Mexico, it primarily is present from May-July, with apparently no records at all from October-February (Wilson and Ceballos-Lascurain 1986). There is no information on where these birds might go when they leave the Distrito Federal: they probably move to lower elevations, but perhaps they make a latitudinal migration. Howell (2011) has observed Chestnut-collared Swifts making daily movements up and down slope in the Andes of Ecuador; these birds apparently forage in the day in adjacent lowlands, but are roosting at higher elevations at night. Flocks of suspected migrant Chestnut-collared Swifts are reported from western Mexico in the northern spring (March-May), although it also is reported in winter north to Sinaloa and Nayarit (Howell and Webb 1995); there as yet is no evidence that regions of any significant size are vacated completely during the northern winter. Land (1970) reported that the range of dates of specimens from Guatemala was from July to October, implying that its occurrence there was seasonal, but Eisermann and Avendaño (2007) consider it to be resident in Guatemala.

The elevational range of Chestnut-collared Swift in Mexico and northern Central America primarily is 1500-3000 m, although it ranges to as low as sea level (Howell and Webb 1995); in Costa Rica, Chestnut-collared Swift breeds at 1500-2450 m, but forages down to 300 m, or on occasion to sea level (Stiles and Skutch 1989); it primarily occurs at 800-2500 m in Colombia, but rarely occurs up to 3300 m (Hilty and Brown 1986); the elevational range in Venezuela is 600-2200 m (Hilty 2003); it primarily occurs from 1000-2700 m in Ecuador, but regularly forages down to 400-500 m or at even lower elevations (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a); and it occurs from 400-3100 m in Bolivia (Hennessey et al. 2003). Chestnut-collared Swift primarily forages over the "hilly parts" of Trinidad (ffrench 1991), but breeds there down to sea level (Snow 1962).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Chestnut-collared Swift forages over humid montane forest, humid pine-oak forest, semideciduous forests, lowland evergreen forests, and over partially open areas, even over villages and towns (Binford 1989, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a, Hilty 2003). Breeds on cliffs and rocky grottos, almost always near water.

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Chestnut-collared Swift - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Chestnut-collared Swift

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and C. Shaw (2015). Chestnut-collared Swift (Streptoprocne rutila), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.chcswi1.01
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