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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

White-throated Swift -- Aeronutes saxatalis

RANGE: Breeds from southern British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and southwestern South Dakota south through the Pacific and southwestern States to Baja California, Mexico, and Central America, and east to western Nebraska and western Texas. Winters from central California, central Arizona and, rarely, southern New Mexico south to Central America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits areas with steep cliffs and deep canyons at elevations from near sea level to about 13,000 feet. Inhabits primarily mountainous country but also coastal cliffs, rugged foothills, and desert canyons; ranges over adjacent valleys while foraging.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Crevices in cliffs for nesting.

NEST: Places nests in deep cracks and crevices in steep, rocky, often inaccessible cliff faces or canyons, from 10 to 200 feet or more above the base. Sometimes nests in cracks of building walls.

FOOD: Feeds on flying insects captured over any terrain while flying swiftly, usually high above the ground. Eats flies, beetles, bees, wasps, ants, bugs, leafhoppers, and other insects.

REFERENCES: Bailey and Niedrach 1965, Bent 1940b, Terres 1980, Verner and Boss 1980.

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