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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Spot-fronted Swift Cypseloides cherriei

Luke Seitz
Version: 1.0 — Published October 3, 2014


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Distribution in the Americas

Spot-fronted Swift has been recorded at scattered localities in Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador (Collins 1980, Marín and Stiles 1993, Greeney 2004).

In Costa Rica, it is known primarily from the Pacific slope of the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Spot-fronted Swift only recently was reported from Panama, where the first record is of a bird on a nest in Boquete (Montañez 2014). There are few records from Colombia, extending from the Western Andes in Cauca (Marín and Stiles 1992, Stiles and Negret 1994) to the Eastern Andes in Santander (Zimmer 1945). In Venezuela Spot-fronted Swift occurs locally in the coast range in Aragua (Beebe 1949, Collins 1980, Hilty 2003). It was detected for the first time in Ecuador only as recently as 1989 (Marín and Stiles 1992), although now it is known from several localities on both slopes of the Andes (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a), with a noteworthy but undocumented report from southwestern Ecuador in the Buenaventura Reserve (Seitz, personal observation, 2011).

Most recent sightings of Spot-fronted Swift come from Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. Breeding has been documented only in Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador (Collins 1980, Marín and Stiles 1992, 1993, Greeney 2004, Montañez 2014.). Whether it is resident throughout its range, or if it only is a seasonal visitor to some regions, remains unknown.

Given the difficulty of identification, Spot-fronted Swift could easily be overlooked in Panama or Nicaragua.

Spot-fronted Swift occurs in hilly terrain, typically at elevations of 1100-2200 m; it also has been photographed over lowland forest at 300 m in eastern Ecuador (Seitz, personal observation, 2011).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Most records of Spot-fronted Swift come from mid-elevation montane forest between 1100 and 2200 m elevation. It has also been photographed, however, over lowland forest at 300 m  in eastern Ecuador (Seitz, personal observation, 2011); this location is near the base of the Andes and perhaps suggests that foraging birds head into the lowlands from the mountains.

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Spot-fronted Swift
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Spot-fronted Swift

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