Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift
(Chaetura pelagica)

Order:  Caprimulgiformes
Family:  Apodidae

Photo by Melissa McMasters [CC 2.0]

Chimney Swift Information

Length:  4.75 - 5.5"

Habitat:  Nests in unused chimneys or silos and other suitable man-made structures. In less populated areas, may nest in tree cavities, which was formerly the primary choice for nesting.

Diet:  Mainly flying insects such as flies, beetles, flying ants, wasps, and bees.

  Calls and sounds of the Chimney Swift

Additional Information

Chimney Swift
Description, range, habitat, songs and calls, identification tips, and behavior. Includes photos, illustration with field marks, and range map. (From

Illustration of Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts

Courtesy of Richard Crossley [CC SA 3.0]

Chimney Swift
Identification Tips

  • Sexes similar
  • Juvenile similar to adult
  • Small aerial bird with cigar-shaped body and crescent-shaped wings
  • Short tail bluntly squared off
  • Plumage sooty gray above with slightly paler rump
  • Buff throat darkening to sooty gray on belly
  • Underwings pale gray

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Chimney Swift Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Chimney Swift is found breeding throughout New England.

This birds winters in South America.