American black swift facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsAmerican black swift
|An adult on its nest in Shoshone County, Idaho|
breeding visitor passage and vagrancy (movements in South America are poorly known) present year-round
The American black swift, or more simply black swift (Cypseloides niger), is a species of bird that is found from northern British Columbia in Canada through the United States and Mexico to Costa Rica and Brazil. They are also found in the Caribbean.
In flight, these birds resemble a flying cigar with long slender curved wings. The plumage is mostly a sooty, dark gray. There is some contrast between the inner and outer portions of the wing. The shoulders are distinctly darker in color than other parts of the wing. They have short tails that are slightly forked.
Foraging habits and diet
Breeding habits and habitat
Their breeding habitat is frequently associated with water. The birds most often nest on high cliff faces, either above the ocean surf or behind or next to waterfalls. The nest is made of twigs and moss glued together with mud. They will also use ferns and seaweed if available. The clutch size is one egg, with incubation lasting 23–27 days. Newly hatched young are probably fed multiple times a day, but older nestlings usually only once a day by each parent, most often at dusk. Adults spend the night roosting at or near the nest site.
These birds migrate out of North America after the breeding season. It remains unclear where most of the birds spend the winter, although some of the birds have been tracked as far south as Brazil, migrating there from Colorado. Some of the birds in the West Indies appear to be permanent residents. They are late spring migrants into the breeding range, with Colorado breeders not arriving until the very end of May into June. Large flocks of migrants are occasionally seen spring and fall, but only very rarely far south of the U.S. breeding range.
Status and distribution
Fewer than 150 black swift breeding sites are known in the United States, with 108 (as of July 2012) known from Colorado. These include:
- In Alberta: next to waterfall in Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park (declining, given extra protection as of August 2018)
- In California: the Santa Cruz coast (where it is declining); Berry Creek Falls; Burney Falls State Park; Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks; the San Bernardino Mountains; and the San Jacinto Mountains
- In Colorado: Box Canyon near Ouray, Hanging Lake, Hawk Creek Falls, Falls Creek Falls, and Niagara and Cataract Gulches
- In New Mexico: Jemez Falls
- In Utah: Stewart Falls
- In Washington: Semiahmoo Bay
American black swift Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.