© 2022 South Carolina Public Radio
Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chimney swifts

chimney-swift.jpg
Ed Schipul
/
Flickr
A chimney swift

The chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) is a bird belonging to the swift family Apodidae. A member of the genus Chaetura, it is closely related to both the Vaux's swift and the Chapman's swift; in the past, the three were sometimes considered to be conspecific. It has no subspecies. The chimney swift is a medium-sized, sooty gray bird with very long, slender wings and very short legs. Like all swifts, it is incapable of perching, and can only cling vertically to surfaces. The chimney swift feeds primarily on flying insects, but also on airborne spiders. It generally mates for life. It builds a bracket nest of twigs and saliva stuck to a vertical surface, which is almost always a human-built structure, typically a chimney.

Stay Connected
Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.