White-throated Needletail

Hirundapus caudacutus

Order

APODIFORMES

Family

Swifts (Apodidae)

Code 4

WTNE

Code 6

HIRCAU

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White-throated Needletail may also be called the Needle-tailed Swift or Spin-tailed Swift. This bird is quite large, and is the fastest bird during level flight, reaching speeds up to 105 mph. Preferred breeding grounds are found in the rocky hillsides of central Asia and southern Siberia. During the winter months, this bird will fly south to Australia and rarely Western Europe, Norway, Sweden and Great Britain. This species has short legs used to cling to vertical surfaces, and build their nests in rocky crevices on cliffs or in hollow trees. Diets consist largely of insects caught while flying. The conservation rating for the White-throated Needletail is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White-throated Needletail: Large swift, gray-brown overall with white throat and undertail. Wings are glossed with green. Tail is short and square, with protruding feather shafts giving a spiked appearance. Very swift flight with several rapid wing beats followed by swooping glides.


Range and Habitat

White-throated Needletail: Native of Eurasia from Eastern Europe to China and south Malaysia and Australia. Breeds in the northern parts of its range and migrates south. Occurs as a visitor to North America only in the outer Aleutians in the springtime. Preferred habitats include timbered ridges, rocky hilltops, and rock crevices.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"chitter-chitter-chitter"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White-throated Needletail was first described in 1802 by John Latham, an English physician, naturalist and author.
  • It was formerly known as the Spine-tailed Swift. It is also sometimes known as the Storm-bird or Stormbird.
  • This large swift is often mistaken in flight for a small predatory bird, but its long curved wings and white markings should identify it.
  • A group of swifts are collectively known as a "box", "flock", "screaming frenzy", and "swoop" of swifts.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for White-throated Needletail

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X