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White-throated swift        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Swifts are fast-flying insectivores closely related to hummingbirds.   Like hummingbirds, swifts have very small feed and cannot walk, and if possible they are even more strongly adapted to an aerial existence.   They are among the fasted of birds and may move hundreds of kilometers a day on the wing (some even mate while in flight).   The white-throated swift shown here is common in western North America; these were photographed as they foraged above the north shore of the Salton Sea and at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, both in southern California.   The were extremely difficult to photograph and most of these images are severely cropped.   Some of the birds have expanded throat pouches, in which they carry captured insects, and most are molting and hence look a bit ragged.

  • Canon 1D4 or 7D2; 800 mm IS lens (2012, 2016)