Long-winged and long-tailed, this inhabitant of the forest canopy closely resembles a swift, but unlike true swifts, frequently perches upright for long periods of time. Dark gray above with a short, angular crest and dark orange cheek patches. Female is paler below than male. Long tail is sometimes opened in a deep fork when in flight, but is appears spinelike when closed. Longer-winged and longer-necked silhouette than swifts in flight. Forages both aerially and by hawking from an exposed perch.