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1 March 2012 The Northern Black Swift: Migration Path And Wintering Area Revealed
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Winter ranges have been identified for most neotropical migrant bird species, those that spend the winter months in Central and South America and summer months in North America. Published accounts and specimen collections of the Northern Black Swift (Cypseloides niger borealis) during spring and fall migration are extremely limited and winter records are nonexistent. We placed light-level geolocators on four Black Swifts in August 2009, and retrieved three a year later. Data from the geolocators revealed initiation of fall migration (10 to 19 Sep 2009), arrival dates at wintering areas (28 Sep to 12 Oct 2009), departure dates from wintering areas (9 to 20 May 2010), and return dates to breeding sites (23 May to 18 Jun 2010) for Northern Black Swifts breeding in interior North America (Colorado, USA). Northern Black Swifts traveled 6,901 km from the Box Canyon breeding site and 7,025 km from Fulton Resurgence Cave to the center of the wintering area. The swifts traveled at an average speed of 341 km/day during the 2009 fall migration and an average speed of 393 km/day during the 2010 spring migration. This is the first evidence that western Brazil is the wintering area for a subset of the Northern Black Swift, extending the known winter distribution of this species to South America.

Jason P. Beason, Carolyn Gunn, Kim M. Potter, Robert A. Sparks, and James W. Fox "The Northern Black Swift: Migration Path And Wintering Area Revealed," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124(1), 1-8, (1 March 2012).
Received: 30 August 2011; Accepted: 11 November 2011; Published: 1 March 2012

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