Black Swift Cypseloides niger


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2ace+3ce+4ace

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Vulnerable A2ace+3ce+4ace
2018 Vulnerable A2ace+3ce+4ace
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency medium
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 13,000,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,110,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 170000 medium estimated 2019
Population trend decreasing estimated 2005-2029
Decline % (10 years/3 generations future) 48 - - -
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 48 - - -
Generation length (years) 3.65 - - -

Population justification: This species is not well known, however the population size has recently been estimated at 170,000 mature individuals (Partners in Flight 2019).

Trend justification: This species has undergone a drastic decrease over the past decades in North America. Long-term data from Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan suggest the species’s population decreased by 94% between 1970 and 2014 (Rosenberg et al. 2016). Declines are currently estimated at ~5.7% per year, which equates to a 48% decline across three generation lengths (~11 years) (Partners in Flight 2019) and similarly significant declines are extremely likely to continue into the future. Such declining trends were similarly concluded by the North American Breeding Bird Survey (Sauer et al. 2017).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antigua and Barbuda extant native yes
Barbados extant native yes
Brazil extant vagrant yes
Canada extant native yes
Colombia extant vagrant yes
Costa Rica extant native yes yes
Cuba extant native yes
Dominica extant native yes
Dominican Republic extant native yes
Grenada extant native yes
Guadeloupe (to France) extant native yes
Guatemala extant native yes yes
Guyana extant vagrant yes
Haiti extant native yes
Honduras extant native yes yes
Jamaica extant native yes
Martinique (to France) extant native yes
Mexico extant native yes yes
Montserrat (to UK) extant native yes
Nicaragua extant native yes
Panama extant native yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) extant native yes
St Kitts and Nevis extant native yes
St Lucia extant native yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines extant native yes yes
Trinidad and Tobago extant native yes
USA extant native yes yes
Venezuela extant vagrant yes
Virgin Islands (to UK) extant native yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Mexico El Triunfo
Mexico Sierra Norte de Oaxaca
Mexico Sur del Valle de México
Mexico Marismas Nacionales
Mexico Río Presidio - Pueblo Nuevo
Mexico Reserva Ecológica Sierra de San Juan
Mexico Sierra Chincua
Mexico Río Metlac
Mexico Centro de Veracruz
Mexico Selvas Nayaritas

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest suitable breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane major non-breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane major breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) major breeding
Altitude 1000 - 3000 m Occasional altitudinal limits 0 - 3700 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cypseloides niger. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023.