6 Fascinating Facts about Swifts

Learn everything birders need to know about swifts—the family of airborne birds that can’t sit still.

A Chimney Swiftsonnyrollins / Imazins/Getty Images
A chimney swift in flight

Chimney Swifts Love to Fly

Chimney swifts spend most of their lives in midair. They eat, drink and mate while flying, only stopping to raise young. It’s estimated they fly more than 500 miles each day.

Psst—this is how birds fly.

Chimney Swifts Are Crafty Builders

One way chimney swifts adapted to habitat loss is using their saliva to stick their nests to houses. Learn about 8 different kinds of bird nests and how to spot them.

Swifts Roost in Large Numbers

When roosting, up to 35,000 Vaux’s swifts may gather in one site. Discover why some species flock with other birds in winter.

4 Species of Swifts Live in North America

Four types of swifts nest in North America. Black, Vaux’s and white-throated swifts are found in the western half of the United States, while chimney swifts occupy the East. Learn how to identify 8 types of swallows.

Black Swifts Winter in Brazil

In 2010, geolocators helped researchers discover black swifts travel 4,000 miles to Brazil each winter. Before that, the birds’ wintering location was unknown. Where do hummingbirds migrate in winter?

White-Throated Swifts Are Not Picky About Nesting Sites

White-throated swifts nest in a wide range of sites, from Death Valley at 180 feet below sea level up to elevations of 11,000 feet. Here’s how to safely observe nesting birds.