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Spot-fronted Swift Cypseloides cherriei

Luke Seitz
Version: 1.0 — Published October 3, 2014


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Spot-fronted Swifts spend the vast majority of their time on the wing, presumably foraging for insects in flight. Other than this general information, little about its behavior is known. The flight style of Spot-fronted Swift is described as similar to that of Black Swift (Cypseloides niger), "with twisting, veering glises on wings usually held below the horizontal and [with] bursts of rapid flapping accompanying changes of speed or direction" (Marín and Stiles 1992).

Interestingly, Spot-fronted Swift has regularly been disoriented by lights on foggy nights at Rancho Grande, Venezuela. Between February and June of 1948, seven individuals were recorded between 19:30 and 21:30, fluttering against lighted windows or clinging to vertical surfaces, on foggy nights (Beebe 1949). There have been many similar instances since then. Attraction to light has been found in other cases, as well: "During one nocturnal visit to the site, an adult was attracted to the light of the headlamps, which it approached while emitting a continuous stream of harsh twittering-clicking notes" (Marín and Stiles 1993).

When approached at night, chicks on a nest "gave a hostile wing-raising display" (Marín and Stiles 1993).


Little information. Nests may be located within 3 m of one another (Marín and Stiles 1992).

Sexual Behavior

Little known. Courtship displays, if any, apparently undescribed. Presumably is at least socially monogamous.

Social and interspecific behavior

Collins found a pair of Spot-fronted Swifts roosting together at a nest site at Rancho Grande, Venezuela on 29 December 1977. Given his earlier discoveries of an egg and a young nestling in July and August, this suggests that pair bonds are held throughout the year. This nest site that Collins found also held a nest of Chestnut-collared Swift, Streptoprocne rutila.

Spot-fronted Swift is most often found in small flocks; up to fifty individuals have been reported at once from northwest Ecuador (eBird data). Sometimes mixes with other swifts, especially Chestnut-collared, but can be found in monospecific flocks. Occasionally encountered solitary or in pairs.


Beebe (1949, 1950) observed a Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis) catching two individuals of Spot-fronted Swift and feeding them to nestlings (Beebe 1949, 1950).

Recommended Citation

Seitz, L. (2014). Spot-fronted Swift (Cypseloides cherriei), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.spfswi1.01