White-throated Swift: Medium-sized swift, mostly brown-black except for white throat, white patches on belly, flanks, white edges on wings. Face is pale gray, has dark eye patch. May be the most rapid flying North American bird, has been seen fleeing from raptors at estimated speeds of over 200 mph.
Range and Habitat
White-throated Swift: Breeds from British Columbia through the Rocky Mountains and in the southwest, including California. Spends winters from central California and the southwest to Central America. Arid mountains or other rocky areas are preferred habitats.
The White-throated Swift is a small swift found throughout western North America and southward to western Honduras. During the winter months, this bird will migrate to southern portions of its normal range. They may be found as far north in the winter along the Pacific coast as the Californian Central Valley. Inland populations extend through the Great Basin and extreme southern British Columbia. Nests are built high in the trees, as this bird is usually in flight versus on the ground. Diets consist mainly of flying insects, berries and seeds. The conservation rating for the White-throated Swift is Least Concern.
The White-throated Swift was first described in 1853 by Samuel Washington Woodhouse, an American surgeon, explorer and naturalist.
Adults exposed to prolonged cold, wet conditions may die. However, when temperatures drop and food intake has been low, swifts become hypothermic which may enable them to survive until conditions improve.
It has proven to be extremely adaptable and will seek out crevices in bridge trusses, highway overpasses, buildings, quarries and other manifestations of human activity.
A group of swifts are collectively known as a "box", "flock", "screaming frenzy", and "swoop" of swifts.