English and Scientific names:

Vaux’s Swift,
Chaetura vauxi

Number of individuals: 

2, No plumage variations known to me

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

C. Bickham Dickson Park---now LSUS Water Research Center

Date(s) when observed:

4 Jan 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:  

9:30 AM

Reporting observer and address:

Hubert Hervey

Stonewall LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

None, Jeff Trahan was at the park that day and I left a note on his windshield telling him about the swifts, but I am pretty sure he did not see them.

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Bosler brothers.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Cloudy day, diffused light, backlit birds against sky, but provided some detail when they were lower over the water, with trees in the background.

Optical equipment: 

8 x  42 Swift and 9.5 X 40 Celestron, no need for scope because I could not have caught up to them in that field of view any way. 

Distance to bird(s): 

100 yards at closest

Duration of observation:

30 minutes


Over small oxbow lake tributary of Red River, surrounded by fields and hardwoods, a few cypress. There were many water plants covering the surface of the lake.

Behavior of bird: 

Constantly flying and feeding on the insects around the lake. Feeding high in the sky at times, joining a lone Purple Marting that was also constantly feeding, and gave me a good size reference.


It is pretty much impossible to adequately eliminate Chimney Swift, unless the time of year factor is considered.  We just don't have Chimney Swifts this far north at that time of year.  It is rare to even have a Tree Swallow in January. The small size was apparent, shorter tail than Chimney Swift could be imagined as a chewed down cigar?  Yuck.  No difference in color from Chimney Swift was apparent with the conditions present on that day.  Of course Tree Swallow would be eliminated by no white under parts.  Purple Martin eliminated by size, and of course flight pattern.  These Vaux's had very fast wingbeats, and long glides, but never zipped upwards as Purple Martins do as they close in on their meal.  These birds just met their insect head on with a splatt.


That is where a man who requires hearing aids in both ears is at a disadvantage.

Similar species:

I think that is adequately covered above. 

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 

Montana and Wyoming pretty good looks.

Identification aids:

Sibley. National

This description is written from: 


Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: 

today is 5 Sep 09, I saw the birds on 4 Jan 2008, fairly recently considering all the distant past records I have had to recall lately.