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Spot-fronted Swift - BirdForum Opus

Cypseloides cherriei


A relatively small Swift (14cm)

  • Blackish plumage
  • Distinctive head pattern: white supraloral patch, post-ocular streak and pale fringes over eye-patch
  • Short, square tail
  • Relatively short wings

Similar Species

Very difficult to distinguish from White-chinned Swift, but possible if seen well.


Central America: seemingly limited to Costa Rica where traditionally expected on the Pacific slope from the Central Valley to the Panama border; however, recently seen with some regularity by La Selva (2-300 m asl) near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí on the Caribbean side.
Patchily distributed in Northern South America: found in NC and SW Colombia, N Ecuador, and N Venezuela.
A rare Swift, but not thought to be globally threatened. Despite the few sightings, this species may be more abundant and widespread than it seems.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Lowland to mid elevation. In South America reported as liking wet forest in mountains, especially if including ravines. In Costa Rica also often in lower elevation



Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Usually seen single or in pairs, often associated with Chestnut-collared Swift but also in flocks with other Swifts.


Nesting recorded from May to August, varying with rainfall. Takes different nest sites but usually cliffs with overhang. Form of nest and material also varying, usually a cup or half-cup, made with moss, liverworts, leaves or/and ferns and mud. Lays one egg.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Restall et al. 2006. Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124156
  3. Garrigues and Dean 2007. The birds of Costa Rica - a field guide. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-7373-9
  4. Birdforum member personal observation

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