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Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis

  • © Maxime D├ęchelle

Few Neotropical swifts are as attractive and easily identified as the Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, a species that ranges from southern Mexico south through Central America, and across the lowlands (below 1,500 m) of the northern two-thirds of South America, as well as on Trinidad. Nonetheless, throughout most of this extensive range it is at most locally common, being generally uncommon or even rare. This swift’s plumage is primarily deep black, with a bright white complete collar, which broadens over the breast and throat, a small white forehead spot, and large white patches on the rump sides, which are visible from both above and below. The only real risk of confusion comes in parts of, especially northern, Middle America, where the possibility of sympatric occurrence with the Greater Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila sanctihieronymi) must be considered. The latter species has a near-identical plumage pattern, but is substantially and obviously larger, which fact will be immediately appreciable with experience.

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© Rich Hoyer

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift (Panyptila cayennensis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: