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Overview

Brief Summary

The Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica), famously described by Roger Tory Peterson in his pioneering A Field Guide to the Birds as resembling "a cigar with wings", is one of the nine swift species in the New World genus Chaetura. Several Chaetura species, including C. pelagica, originally built their nests in hollow trees but now often nest inside chimneys or other human-built structures. The Chimney Swift is the only swift regularly occurring in eastern North America. In late summer, large flocks may be seen in the sky at dusk, giving their distinctive chattering calls. Chimney Swifts feeding on flying insects are a familiar sight in the open skies over towns and cities across the eastern United States and adjacent Canada,. Within the Chinmey Swift's range, artificial nest sites such as chimneys are far more common than suitable hollow trees.

Chimney swift courtship involves aerial displays. Nesting is often colonial and the breeding pair is often assisted by an extra adult “helper”. The nest, which is constructed by both sexes, is shaped like half a saucer and is made of twigs glued together with the birds’ saliva. Adults break off short dead twigs from trees while zooming past in flight. Clutch size is 4 to 5 white eggs (range 3 to 6). Incubation (for 19 to 21 days) is by both parents. Both parents feed young (by regurgitating insects). Young may climb out of the nest after around 20 days, clambering up vertical walls. Young typically first fly at around 28 to 30 days.

Chimney Swifts migrate in flocks, apparently during the day. They winter in eastern Peru, northern Chile, and in the upper Amazon basin of eastern Peru and northwestern Brazil.

(Kaufman 1996; AOU 1998)

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Distribution

Range Description

Chaetura pelagica breeds in eastern North America as far north as southern Canada, and occasionally in California and Arizona (USA). It is a migratory species, wintering in eastern Ecuador, Peru, north-west Brazil and northern Chile (del Hoyo et al. 1999). The Canadian population, which occupies one quarter of the breeding range, is estimated at just 11,820 breeding individuals (COSEWIC 2007), although the global population has been estimated at 15,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2004). Trends have been recorded through North America between 1966 and 2007, with a decline of 5.5% per year in Canada (total decline of 90%) and 1.8% per year in the USA (total decline of 53%). Overall, during this period the population has declined by 1.9% per year, though this decline has accelerated in recent years, reaching a decline of 2.8% per year between 1980 and 2008 (Dionne et al. 2008) (total decline of 40% over this period) (Sauer et al. 2008).

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Chimney swifts are found from central Alberta to Newfoundland, and south to Florida, the Gulf states, and eastern Texas. They are migratory, wintering at the headwaters of the Amazon in western Brazil and eastern Peru. Chimney swifts are considered accidental species in Greenland and Bermuda.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

  • Palmer, E., H. Fowler. 1975. Fieldbook of Natural History, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
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Range

breeds eastern North America; winters in coastal Peru and northern Chile, in Amazonian Peru, and probably in western Brazil.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: east-central Saskatchewan east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and probably Newfoundland, south to eastern New Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida, and west to southeastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: western Peru, northern Chile, and upper Amazon basin of eastern Peru and Brazil (Stiles and Skutch 1989, AOU 1998). MIGRATION: eastern Mexico, Caribbean slope of Middle America, Colombia, and western Venezuela (AOU 1998).

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Geographic Range

Chimney swifts are native to the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. They are found in North and South America, ranging from central Alberta to Newfoundland, then south to Florida, the Gulf States, and eastern Texas. They also migrate, spending the winters at the headwaters of the Amazon in western Brazil and eastern Peru. They are sometimes seen in Greenland and Bermuda.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

  • Palmer, E., H. Fowler. 1975. Fieldbook of Natural History, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
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Physical Description

Morphology

In general, chimney swifts are a dark grayish to brownish-gray, sooty color. Males and females look alike. The tail has stiff bristle-like or spiny feather tips (Palmer and Fowler, 1975; Whittemore, 1981). There may be as many as seven tail spines (Chantler and Driessens, 2000). They have been described as resembling a "flying cigar" (Palmer and Fowler, 1975). Chimney swifts have large eyes. They weigh 21.33 g on average. Wing length averages 130.4 mm and tail length averages 39.1 mm (Chantler and Driessens, 2000).

Average mass: 21.33 g.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 22.8 g.

  • Whittemore, M. 1981. Chimney Swifts and Their Relatives. Jackson, MS: Nature Books Publishers.
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Physical Description

Chimney swifts are small birds with wing length averaging 130.4 mm and tail length averaging 39.1 mm. They weigh approximately 21 grams. The bird's body and head are dark grayish to brownish-gray color on the upper part, slightly paler below. The tail has stiff bristle-like or spiny feather tips. There may be as many as seven tail spines. The eyes of chimney swifts are large. In flight these birds are described as looking like a "cigar with wings." Male and female birds look the same.

Average mass: 21.33 g.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Average mass: 22.8 g.

  • Whittemore, M. 1981. Chimney Swifts and Their Relatives. Jackson, MS: Nature Books Publishers.
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Size

Length: 13 cm

Weight: 24 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This migratory species is extremely gregarious, and typically nests in chimneys, though other structures such as hollow tree trunks can be used (del Hoyo et al. 1999, COSEWIC 2007). Eggs have been recorded from May to July, though the precise timing varies slightly throughout its range. A clutch of two to seven eggs is laid, and extra-parental co-operation is well established. It is present in North America until September (del Hoyo et al. 1999). Habitat It is readily associated with urban settings, though also forages and breeds over a variety of natural habitats over its wide range. Main habitats include river-edge forest, the edge of tropical lowland evergreen forest and second-growth scrub. It can also be found along the coast in Peru, up to 3,000 m over irrigated farmland in western Andean valleys, and even in central city zones (del Hoyo et al. 1999). Diet Spiders, along with Hymenoptera spp., Diptera spp. and other insects have been recorded (del Hoyo et al. 1999).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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In temperate zones, chimney swifts are found most often in areas settled by humans. In the tropics, they are also found near irrigated agricultural lands and areas inhabited by humans. In natural tropical settings, chimney swifts are found at the edge of rivers bordered by forest or the edge of lowland evergreen forests and secondary growth scrub, and even over the Andean valleys in Peru and Ecuador. They can be found at elevations of 2500 m.

Range elevation: 2500 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

  • Chantler, P., G. Driessens. 2000. Swifts: A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World, 2nd. ed. Sussex: Pica Press.
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Comments: Cosmopolitan; inhabits rural and urban environments having both an abundance of flying arthropods and suitable roosting/nesting sites. Nests principally in chimneys, but also on the interior walls of a variety of other anthropogenic structures including silos, barns, outhouses, uninhabited houses, boathouses, wells, and cisterns (Bent 1940). Natural nest sites include the interior of hollow tree trunks and branches, Pileated Woodpecker cavities and rock shelters (Bent 1940, Fisher 1958, Hofslund 1958). Trees in which nests have been found include American Beech (FAGUS GRANDIFOLIA), Yellow Birch (BETULA LUTEA), Silver Maple (ACER SACCHARINUM), Sycamore (PLATANUS OCCIDENTALIS), Bald Cypress (TAXODIUM DISTICHUM), and Water Tupelo (NYSSA AQUATICA; Blodgett and Zammuto 1979, Fischer 1958, Hofslund 1958, Mumford and Keller 1984, Stevenson and Anderson 1994). Due to the prevalence of nesting structures in areas populated by humans, often occurs at higher densities in anthropogenic environments than natural ones (i.e., forests; Beissinger and Osborne 1982). Migrating flocks roost overnight principally in chimneys, but also in hollow trees or, rarely, even exposed on tree trunks (Bent 1940, Spendelow 1985).

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In temperate zones, chimney swifts are found most often in areas settled by humans. In the tropics, they are also found near irrigated agricultural lands and areas inhabited by humans. In natural tropical settings, chimney swifts are found at the edge of rivers bordered by forest or the edge of lowland evergreen forests and secondary growth scrub, and even over the Andean valleys in Peru and Ecuador. They can be found at elevations of 2500 m.

Range elevation: 2500 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

  • Chantler, P., G. Driessens. 2000. Swifts: A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World, 2nd. ed. Sussex: Pica Press.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

PHENOLOGY: Migrates northward, often in small flocks, through North America from mid-March through May. Migrates southward in August and September in large flocks (Stokes 1979). Migrates diurnally (Bent 1940).

ROUTES: A trans-Gulf migrant; the vast majority of individuals apparently cross the Gulf of Mexico between the United States and Mexico. A second migration pathway over the West Indies is apparently little used (Lowery 1943). Raffaele (1989) consider it an extremely rare migrant over the Virgin Islands. Migrates through Costa Rica along the Caribbean coast from mid-March to late April and from early October through early November (Stiles and Skutch 1989). As they migrate through Costa Rica, thousands may gather into feeding flocks over open areas during stormy weather, sometimes in the company of other swifts (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

FLOCK SIZE: A flock migrating over Kingston, Ontario on 14 May 1947 was estimated to contain 10,000 individuals (Bowman 1952). One fall flock, roosting in a hollow Sycamore tree, was estimated to contain 9000 individuals, and another, roosting in a chimney, contained an estimated 12,620 individuals (Bent 1940, Groskin 1945).

MIGRATION SPEED: Travels approximately 100 kilometers per day during migration (Bowman 1952). An individual banded at Kingston, Ontario on 2 September 1928 was recovered 12 days later at Charleston, West Virginia (traveled approximately 62 kilometers per day). Another individual, banded at Lexington, Missouri in September, arrived at Baton Rouge, Louisiana 3 days later (a travel rate of approximately 324 kilometers per day). A swift banded at Baton Rouge, Louisiana was captured 750 kilometers to the north 5 days later (an average of 150 kilometers per day). Another swift banded at Chattanooga, Tennessee was recovered 160 kilometers away on the same day (Bowman 1952). An individual banded at London, Ontario, was captured 12 days later at Knoxville, Tennessee (an average of 67 kilometers per day; Hitchcock 1945). Prior to fall migration, pre-migratory flocks (apparently composed of local individuals) form (Fischer 1958, Michael and Chao 1973).

WINTERING: Winters in the upper Amazon River basin from western Peru to Bolivia and central Brazil (Lincoln 1944, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Terres 1991).

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Trophic Strategy

Chimney swifts feed exclusively while in flight. They are primarily insectivores (Palmer and Fowler, 1975). They forage by hovering over tree branches and catching insects in flight; they take a variety of insect and spider prey. Forty to fifty chimney swifts were recorded hovering at the outer branches or diving through the top branches of a sweetgum tree in pursuit of a particular species of weevil (Chantler and Driessen, 2000).

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)

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Comments: Forages for arthropods, principally flying insects, while in flight (Terres 1991). With rare exceptions, foraging is diurnal (Bent 1940, Oberholser 1974). Occasionally picks insects off tips of tree branches (Fischer 1958). Fischer (1958) examined over 1000 insects fed to young in New York. Principal food items (95%), in decreasing order of frequency, included Diptera, Homoptera, Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera, and Plecoptera. The remainder of the diet was composed of Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Trichoptera, Siphonaptera, and Arachnids. Fleas (Siphonaptera) inhabiting the nest may have entered the diet accidentally (Fischer 1958). At times the diet is comprised overwhelmingly of one insect group or species, apparently the result of selection of insects when locally abundant (Fischer 1958). Bent (1940) also reported that insects are the principal prey items, including agricultural pests such as the potato beetle (LEMA TRILINEATA) and the tarnished plant bug (LYGUS PRATENSIS). Wanders a mile (1.6 km) or more from the nest when foraging (Fischer 1958). One individual was observed attempting to steal a dragonfly (Odonata) from the beak of a flying Purple Martin (PROGNE SUBIS; Brown 1980). Water is obtained on the wing by skimming low over bodies of water (Oberholser 1974).

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Food Habits

Chimney swifts feed exclusively while in flight. They are primarily insectivores. They forage by hovering over tree branches and catching insects in flight; they take a variety of insect and spider prey. Forty to fifty chimney swifts were recorded hovering at the outer branches or diving through the top branches of a sweetgum tree in pursuit of a particular species of weevil.

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

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Associations

As insectivores chimney swifts affect insect populations throughout their range.

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Chimney swifts are occasionally eaten by hawks and falcons.

Known Predators:

  • hawks (Accipitridae)
  • falcons (Falconidae)

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Ecosystem Roles

As insectivores chimney swifts affect insect populations throughout their range.

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Predation

Chimney swifts are occasionally eaten by Accipitridae and Falconidae.

Known Predators:

  • hawks (Accipitridae)
  • falcons (Falconidae)

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Known predators

Chaetura pelagica is prey of:
Accipitridae

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Chaetura pelagica preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Arthropoda
Insecta

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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General Ecology

MATE/SITE FIDELITY: Exhibits mate and site fidelity, and normally mates for life (Dexter 1951b, Dexter 1992). In Ohio, 84.5% of nesting swifts under observation retained the same mate when both returned for nesting, and 96% of the pairs that returned and nested together occupied the same air shaft used in the previous year (Dexter 1992). In New York, two pairs mated for three successive summers and five pairs mated for two successive summers (Fischer 1958). Sixty-two percent of banded adults returned to the New York study area and of these 70.5% returned to their previous nest site (Fischer 1958). In Kingston, Ontario, 9.7% of banded bird returned to the study area (Bowman 1952). One bird, banded at Rome, Georgia was subsequently captured at Kent, Ohio, then captured again at Rome (Dexter 1979). In New York, 11% of birds banded as nestlings returned to the study area, and 70% of these returned to their natal site to breed (Fischer 1958).

WEATHER: The time interval between visits to feed young increases at temperatures above or below 21-24 C, and on windy or rainy days (Zammuto et al. 1981). Most individuals leave the roost during light levels of 0-0.65 lux, and return to roost at light levels of 0-0.19 lux (Zammuto and Franks 1981). On cold, rainy mornings, emergence from the roost is either delayed or birds soon return after leaving. On windy days, birds leave the roost earlier and return later than on calm days (Zammuto and Franks 1981). Relatively cold or warm temperatures, wind, and rain all reduce flying insect abundance and apparently decrease swift foraging efficiency (Zammuto and Franks 1981, Zammuto et al. 1981).

POPULATION PARAMETERS: At Kingston, 177 banded swifts were still alive six years after banding (Bowman 1952). Annual mortality is estimated to be 50% (Fischer 1958). Lives to be 14 years old (Terres 1991).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Chimney swift calls are described as a twitter (Palmer and Fowler, 1975). The most common twitterings are accelerating and decelerating chipping (Chantler and Driessens, 2000).

Chimney swifts also are likely to use touch and vision in communication. They perceive their environment through vision, hearing, touch, and a weakly developed sense of smell.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Communication and Perception

Chimney swift calls are described as a twitter. The most common twitterings are accelerating and decelerating chipping.

Chimney swifts also are likely to use touch and vision in communication. They perceive their environment through vision, hearing, touch, and a weakly developed sense of smell.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

A female chimney swift was recorded to have lived ten years (Dexter, 1956).

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
10 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
168 months.

  • Dexter, R. 1956. Ten-year life history of a banded Chimney Swift. The Auk, 73: 276-280.
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Lifespan/Longevity

A female chimney swift was recorded to have lived ten years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
10 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
168 months.

  • Dexter, R. 1956. Ten-year life history of a banded Chimney Swift. The Auk, 73: 276-280.
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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 15 years (wild) Observations: Few animals live more than 4 years (John Terres 1980).
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Reproduction

Chimney swifts are monogamous; records indicate that some chimney swifts will remain with the same mate for up to eight or nine years.

Mating System: monogamous

The breeding season for chimney swifts is from May to July. Nests are placed in the dark in chimneys and occasionally in hollow trees. The basket-like, half-cup nest consists of sticks and is secured to the wall of a chimney by secreted mucilage (saliva). It is usually at least 15.5 m off the ground, but this can vary greatly (Palmer and Fowler, 1975; Whittemore, 1981; Chantler and Driessens, 2000).

Three to seven white, somewhat glossy eggs are laid per clutch (Palmer and Fowler, 1975; Whittemore, 1981; Chantler and Driessens, 2000). Each egg is approximately 2.0 by 1.3 cm. Both parents incubate the eggs (Palmer and Fowler, 1975), and the incubation period is from 19 to 21 days (Chantler and Driessens, 2000). Females will cover the eggs or young at night. Nestlings may leave the nest 14 to 19 days after hatching, but the first flight typically occurs 30 days after hatching (Chantler and Driessens, 2000). Chimney swifts can have more than one brood per season, and will re-nest if the first nest and eggs are destroyed (Whittemore, 1981).

Some nesting colonies can be quite large, made up of thousands of individuals (Chantler and Driessens, 2000). The size of the nesting colony depends on the size of the roosting site; usually there are a few pairs to a few hundred birds in a colony (Dexter, 1969; Chantler and Driessens, 2000).

Breeding interval: Chimney swifts breed once yearly, but occasionally have more than one brood per season.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from May to July.

Range eggs per season: 4 to 7.

Average eggs per season: 5.

Range time to hatching: 19 to 21 days.

Range fledging age: 14 to 19 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; oviparous

Average eggs per season: 4.

Young chimney swifts are altricial and are fed by both parents.

Sometimes birds other than the breeding pair will help feed and care for young, a behavior called extra-parental cooperation or cooperative breeding. Chimney swifts are known to form cooperative breeding groups of three to four birds. These groups may remain as a nesting unit throughout the season, sharing incubation, brooding, and feeding duties (Dexter, 1952; Chantler and Driessens, 2000). Records indicate that one colony had more than one-third of the breeding pairs form cooperative groups; there were 22 threesomes and 6 foursomes (Dexter, 1952).

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female)

  • Chantler, P., G. Driessens. 2000. Swifts: A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World, 2nd. ed. Sussex: Pica Press.
  • Dexter, R. 1952. Extra-parental cooperation in the nesting of Chimney Swifts. The Wilson Bulletin, 64(3): 133-139.
  • Dexter, R. 1969. Banding and nesting studies of the Chimney Swift, 1944-1968. The Ohio Journal of Science, 69(4): 193-213.
  • Palmer, E., H. Fowler. 1975. Fieldbook of Natural History, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  • Whittemore, M. 1981. Chimney Swifts and Their Relatives. Jackson, MS: Nature Books Publishers.
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Most individuals do not nest until two-years old (Dexter 1981a, Fischer 1958).

OVIPOSTION/INCUBATION: Eggs are laid from May through July (Terres 1991). Nests are constructed of dead twigs broken off trees while birds are in flight (Shelley 1929) and glued to the interior wall of a hollow anthropogenic or natural structures with saliva (Bent 1940, Fischer 1958). Old nests are rarely re-used (Dexter 1962, Dexter 1981b). Egg-laying begins when the nest is approximately half finished. Egg are laid every other day and incubation begins after the penultimate egg is laid. Clutch size typically ranges from 2-6 eggs (average = 4.3), but as many as 8 eggs have been found in one nest. Nests containing more than six eggs may be the result of oviposition by two females. Incubation typically takes 19 days, but ranges from 16-21 days. Will re-lay if first clutch is lost (Fischer 1958). One female, studied over a 10-year period, laid a total of 34 eggs (3-5 eggs per clutch, mean = 4.25, n = 8) and fledged 27 young (0-4 young per year, mean = 3, n = 9; Dexter 1956). Clutch size of first-year nesting females (2-5 eggs, mean 3.5) studied in Ohio was smaller than subsequent clutches (3-7, mean 4.1; Dexter 1981a). Both sexes incubate the eggs and brood and feed the young. An additional adult or two sometimes assist parents with incubation, brooding and feeding of young (Dexter 1952a, Fischer 1958). The extra adult is most often a male (Dexter 1952a, Dexter 1981a). Whereas extra adults enhanced nesting success of first-year nesting females, they had no influence on nesting success of older females (Dexter 1981a).

FLEDGING: Young leave the nest, but remain nearby, at 14-19 days old. Juveniles typically first fly 30 days after hatching.

NEST SUCCESS: Hatching success for 20 nests studied in New York was 90.7%, and fledging success, as defined as young that survived to fly outdoors, was 86% (Fischer 1958). Adults continue to care for young washed out of the nest and, in some cases, the young survive to fledge (Dexter 1952b).

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Chimney swifts are monogamous; records indicate that some chimney swifts will remain with the same mate for up to eight or nine years.

Mating System: monogamous

Chimney swifts gather together to breed in colonies. Some nesting colonies can be quite large, including thousands of individuals. The exact number of individuals varies depending on the size of the nesting area.

Chimney swifts build their nests in chimneys or hollow trees. The basket-like, half-cup nest is made of sticks secured to the inner wall of a chimney or tree by the hardened saliva of the swifts. The nest is usually placed at least 15.5 m off the ground, but this can vary greatly. A female lays 3 to 7 white, glossy eggs per clutch. Each egg is approximately 2.0 by 1.3 cm. Both parents help incubate the eggs, which means that they will take turns sitting on the nest to keep the eggs warm until they hatch.  Nestlings may leave the nest 14 to 19 days after hatching but the first flight typically occurs 30 days after hatching. Chimney swifts probably reach sexual maturity (have the ability to breed) one year after they have left the nest.

Breeding interval: Chimney swifts breed once yearly, but occasionally have more than one brood per season.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from May to July.

Range eggs per season: 4 to 7.

Average eggs per season: 5.

Range time to hatching: 19 to 21 days.

Range fledging age: 14 to 19 days.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization

Average eggs per season: 4.

Young chimney swifts are helpless when hatched and are fed by both parents.

Sometimes birds other than the breeding pair will help feed and care for young, a behavior called cooperative breeding. Chimney swifts are known to form cooperative breeding groups of three to four birds. These groups may remain as a nesting unit throughout the season, sharing incubation, brooding, and feeding duties. Records indicate that one colony had more than one-third of the breeding pairs form cooperative groups; there were 22 threesomes and 6 foresomes.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female)

  • Chantler, P., G. Driessens. 2000. Swifts: A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World, 2nd. ed. Sussex: Pica Press.
  • Dexter, R. 1952. Extra-parental cooperation in the nesting of Chimney Swifts. The Wilson Bulletin, 64(3): 133-139.
  • Dexter, R. 1969. Banding and nesting studies of the Chimney Swift, 1944-1968. The Ohio Journal of Science, 69(4): 193-213.
  • Palmer, E., H. Fowler. 1975. Fieldbook of Natural History, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  • Whittemore, M. 1981. Chimney Swifts and Their Relatives. Jackson, MS: Nature Books Publishers.
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Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Chaetura pelagica

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTATAGTAGGAACTGCCCTCAGCCTACTTATCCGAGCAGAGCTTGGACAACCAGGGACTCTCCTAGGAGATGATCAAATCTACAACGTAATCGTTACTGCCCACGCTTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATACCAATTATGATCGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCACTTATAATTGGAGCACCTGACATAGCCTTCCCACGAATAAACAATATAAGCTTTTGACTTCTTCCCCCATCATTCCTCCTCCTACTAGCCTCCTCAACAGTTGAAGCAGGAGCAGGAACAGGCTGAACCGTATACCCTCCACTAGCCGGCAATCTAGCCCACGCAGGAGCATCAGTTGACCTCGCTATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTAGCAGGGGTCTCCTCCATCCTAGGTGCAATCAACTTTATCACAACTGCCATCAATATAAAACCACCTGCCCTCTCACAATACCAAACACCCCTATTCGTATGATCCGTCCTCATTACCGCCGTCCTACTACTCCTCTCCCTCCCCGTCCTCGCTGCAGGCATCACTATACTCTTAACTGACCGTAACCTAAACACCACATTCTTCGACCCAGCCGGAGGAGGTGACCCCATCTTATACCAACACCTATTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAAGTCTACATCCTAATTCTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chaetura pelagica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Windingstad, R.

Justification
This species is classified as Near Threatened as survey data has demonstrated that it has undergone a moderately rapid population decline due to loss of nesting habitat. However, trends for three-generation periods ending in 2006, 2007 and 2009 have reached 32%, 31% and 30% respectively, and should these rates of declines continue, the species may be uplisted to Vulnerable.


History
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)