Documentation of White-throated Swift

Observer Information

Reporter:  Dan Belter  1201 S 50th Ave.,   Wausau, WI  54401
Other Observers: 

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  White-throated Swift
First Date/Time:  12/30/2016 1:00:00 PM
Last Date/Time:  12/30/2016 1:20:00 PM
Duration (total time in view):  15 minutes
County:  Fremont
Specific Location:  Tunnel Drive
Number:  1
Age:  Adult
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Steep, rocky hill side with some vegetation present. Some of the steeper areas had no vegetation.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Swarovski EL 10x42 binoculars
Distance:  The closest it came to me was around 50 feet at one point. Otherwise it was an average of 200 to 300 feet away, both flying overhead and straight out from me.
Light:  Excellent, sunny. Nothing blocked my viewing of this bird.

Description of the Bird

As I was hiking along the trail and approaching the the first pedestrain tunnel when I looked up and saw this bird flying overhead. It was a swift, and I first noted the body and wing shape that looked like a flying cigar. The wings were long and narrow for the small size of this bird, and they swept back to make a steady "bend" to their shape along the leading edge of the wings. As for the body, it looked thicker in the front half and narrowed to a point on the back half. There was a white area on the entire throat, and it tappered back along the belly to end at the start point of its tail. The head appeared dark, but not black. The sides of the body that are under the wings, and the axillaries were were black. The rest of the underwing and tail were dark, but not as black a as the axillaries. I also saw white flank patches as well.

I did not hear any sounds coming from this bird, it was silent everytime I saw it. I only saw the bird in flight, which was rapid, and it twisted and turned the entire time that I observed it.

Similar Species Discussion

It was a swift for sure. I have seen this species in past visits to Colorado and other western states during the summer months. The overall wing and body shape would eliminate a swallow, which would show a sharp "bend" along the leading edge of the wings, and not a long steady sloping wing along the leading edge of the wings. As for other swifts, no other North American swift would show as much white on the underparts as this bird had. 

Resources Used

When I returned to my car, I checked my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, sixth edition, and my big Sibley Guide to Birds. I also had the iBird PRO app on my cell phone that I checked as the swift was flying past me.

Previous Experience

I have seen White-throated Swifts on past summer visits to Colorado and other western states. So I have seen this species before. I see Chimney Swifts here in Wisconsin every year.


Notes made DURING observation

Materials Available

Photographer: Dan Belter

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

1/1/2017 8:25:00 PM
Click left or right edges of photos to move through all; click outside image to close

Location Map

The marker on the map shows an approximation of the location of this report. The marker is generated using a prioritized Logic base:
1) If the observer has entered coordinates, they will be shown.
2) No specific coordinates are available but the location is mappable.
3) A generic location with no specific coordinates is mapped to the center of the reported county.

Powered By Subgurim( Maps ASP.NET