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Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi


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Vaux's Swift
credit: Dominic Sherony/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Apodidae, Swifts view all from this family

Description ADULT Has mainly dark brown plumage, but contrastingly light brown on throat and chest, and on lower back and rump. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly May-Sep), favoring mature forest with dead trees and branches that provide natural hollows for nesting. Nests in chimneys and often feeds over towns. Forms huge fall staging roosts in large chimneys in some Pacific Northwest cities. Winters mainly in South America, but small numbers linger on Californian coasts outside breeding season.

Observation Tips Easy to see within range in summer.

Range Northwest, Alaska, Western Canada, Southeast, California, Rocky Mountains, Southwest

Voice Utters chattering twitters.

Discussion Similar to Chimney Swift. Barely overlapping ranges aid species separation, but note subtle differences in plumage and flight pattern: Vaux's has paler underparts and rump and has speedier flight, with shorter glides between bouts of rapid wingbeats. Sexes are similar.