White-Throated Swift talons

White-Throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis)

The White-Throated Swift is commonly found swooping and diving around canyon walls in the western United States. Their aerodynamic bodies allow for extended flight, even feeding on flying insects while in mid-air.

They are members of the Apodidae family, derived from the Latin for “footless.” Swifts have very small feet with talons that are adapted to clinging to vertical surfaces, rather than perching. These birds limit their time on the ground and can have difficulty using their small legs to boost themselves back into the air.

Zion National Park, ZION 355 (detail of talons and specimen)

Zion National Park staff photo (live bird)

White-Throated Swift
White-Throated Swift