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Panyptila sanctihieronymi

Great Swallow-tailed Swift

  • Order: Apodiformes
  • Family: Apodidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: van Dort, John

Panyptila sanctihieronymi

Cerro Izopo, Francisco Morazan, Honduras; 5 October 2013 © John van Dort

Great Swallow-tailed Swift is restricted to montane regions from Nayarit, Mexico south to southern Honduras. It generally occurs in highlands, from 1000-2000 m, over fairly undisturbed and rocky terrain. It is highly acrobatic and will cruise over mountainous slopes at high speeds, often with spectacular plunges and sharp turns. Great Swallow-tailed Swift is very distinctive, generally being the only white-throated black swift with a deeply forked tail above 1000 m; but compare this species carefully to its smaller congener, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila cayennensis), with which it may co-occur locally. Previously Great Swallow-tailed Swift was known as San Geronimo Swift, after the type locality in Guatemala.

Recommended Citation

van Dort, John. 2013. Great Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila sanctihieronymi), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Aerial
  • Foraging Behavior:Screen
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Single-Species Flocks
  • Mating System:Unknown
  • Nest Form:Pendant
  • Clutch: 3 - 3
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern