• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

White-collared Swift - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by petersheikhli
Ecuador, March 2004
Streptoprocne zonaris


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Abra del Infiernillo, Tucumán Province, Argentina, October 2019

20–22 cm (8-8¾ in) a large Swift

  • Blackish overall plumage
  • Diagnostic white collar
  • Broad wings
  • Shallowly forked tail
  • Sturdy body


Side View
Photo © by NJ Larsen
Below Minca, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, 27 August 2023

Subspecies differ mostly in plumage (some are paler) and extent of the white collar.

Similar Species

Similar to Biscutate Swift (broken white collar) and White-naped Swift (only white nape).


Central and South America:
Found in the Andes from Bolivia to Venezuela, also from Mexico to Panama and in the lowlands of South Brazil and Paraguay. Vagrant in the USA.
Locally common or abundant and not globally threatened. Subspecies pallidifrons quite rare.



Nine subspecies recognized[1]:


Wide range of different habitats but mostly found in montane or submontane areas. Also found in lowlands, eg in Ecuador from 300m up to 4200m! Prefers evergreen forest or scrub and is most scarce over arid regions.



Feeds on various insects, taken in flight. Like other Swifts highly gregarious and often in mixed flocks with other species.


Breeding season differs throughout range and seems to be linked with rainfall. Nests in caves or behind waterfalls, building a disc-shaped pad with vegetable matter hold together with mud. Sometimes no nest is build at all. Lays two eggs.


Partly migratory, varying through range. Some populations are found in the lowlands outside breeding season.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Chantler, P., Kirwan, G.M. & de Juana, E. (2020). White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/55260 on 26 March 2020)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1