Restoration Potential: The species will likely endure and flourish wherever forests are managed for mature and old-growth characteristics that include abundant, large hollow trees and snags and a healthy aerial insect fauna.
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Dependent on old-growth forests, with associated hollow trees and snags. The species' area requirements are unknown. There is some evidence that forest fragmentation alters the species' distribution on a local scale based on a survey in northern California, but the details need further study (Sterling and Paton 1996).
Management Requirements: Snag retention and conservation of mature and old-growth forests are essential. Key management elements are to maintain large diameter hollow trees and snags (e.g., > 50 cm diameter at breast height), recruit future suitable nest and roost trees, and maintain a high density of large live trees (e.g., > 100 cm diameter and breast height). Presence of tree heartrot, fire, woodpeckers, and other ecological components that create tree cavities and nest holes will benefit this species (Bull and Collins 1993). May use residual snags in logged stands, burns, or clearcuts to a limited extent (Sterling and Paton 1996) but the quality of these sites in relation to productivity and snag longevity is unknown. There may be an association with the presence of Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), as Vaux's Swifts use cavities excavated by these woodpeckers and the two species' ranges closely overlap in the west (Bull and Cooper 1991; Sterling and Patton 1996). Healthy aerial insect populations over forest, lake and river habitats are important as prey base.
Management Research Needs: More detailed information is needed on the impacts of habitat alterations and various forest management activities, response to fire, response to human disturbance, and especially area needs and relationship to landscape patterns. Information is needed on abundance, productivity, dispersal and survival in relation to habitat and forest management scenarios. Need information on potential use of habitat corridors or watercourses for travel, migration routes, and stopover habitats. More detailed information is especially needed on habitat relationships, status, and threats to the species in Mesoamerica. There is a need for information on effectiveness of a nest box program for increasing local populations.
Biological Research Needs: With relatively few studies on this species, nearly all aspects of its life history need further investigation. More detailed information is needed on habitat use in varying parts of the species' range, patterns of abundance, dispersal, site fidelity, territory use, home range size, productivity and survivorship.