Must-see Aerial Insectivores in the Greater Antilles: Part 3/5

Antillean Palm-Swifts in flight as well as entering and exiting nests located within the hanging fronds of palm trees, Jamaica. (photos by Justin Proctor)

This post is part of a series; visit Part 2 here.

Antillean Palm-Swift (Tachornis phoenicobia)

This is going to be the most noticeable and easy to identify swift out there. However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a really good look at one right away. They are fast, and they are small. Luckily they are gregarious and colonial nesters, which means that you will usually come across them in large numbers as they forage or move into and out of their nests – which, amazingly, are a blend of saliva, plant fibers, and feathers attached to the undersides of dead, hanging palm fronds.

Look for Antillean Palm-Swifts nesting in large, isolated palms either in the country-side or in urban parks. Or, if you’re a fan of the beach, keep a watchful eye on any nearby “tiki-huts” that have roofs made of palm fronds. You’ll find it mesmerizing to watch the little swifts fly seamlessly up into a mat-like cluster of palm fronds at what seems to be an impossible speed. The strong contrast of their dark grey / black bodies with their white rumps will be an immediate indication of who you are looking at.

[This post and the rest in the series are part of an online article I wrote for BirdsCaribbean, which I will link to in my final post here]

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