Black Swift Cypseloides niger

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Apodidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Carolyn Gunn, Jason Beason, Kim Potter, and M. Webb


Geographic Variation

Three subspecies are recognized increasing in size from south to north. The smallest recognized subspecies is C. n. niger in the West Indies and the largest is C. n. borealis in North America (Lowther and Collins 2002). Intermediate between these in size is C. n. costaricensis.

Related Species

Current designation of subspecies based solely on measurements, plumage characteristics, and breeding locations. Species is larger in north and smaller in south. DNA analysis to elucidate taxonomy currently is underway.

Recommended Citation

Gunn, C., J. P. Beason, K. Potter, and M. Webb (2013). Black Swift (Cypseloides niger), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.