Common Nighthawk

The Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor, is a nightjar.

Picture of the Common Nighthawk has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution.
Original source: Common Nighthawk
Author: Gavin Keefe Schaefer

The Common Nighthawk is classified as Least Concern. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

The Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor, is a nightjar. The adults have brown feathers with some darker ones too (some black feathers), gray and white patterning on the upperparts and breast. The long wings are black and reveal a white bar when in flight. The tail is dark with white barring and the underparts are white with black bars. The adult male has a white throat while the female has a light brown throat. Their breeding habitat is open country across North America. More

Common Nighthawk is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. They catch flying insects on the wing, mainly foraging near dawn and dusk (crepuscular), sometimes at night with a full moon or near street lighting. The call is a short peet usually heard overhead. The male performs an aerial display during courtship, creating a booming sound near the end of a steep dive. The sound is produced by air rushing through the wingtips. More

Pursuing flying insects at dusk and dawn, the Common Nighthawk can be seen flying its floppy flight in rural or urban areas. Its white wing patches and eratic flight make it look like a big bat with headlights, and it is known in some areas as the "bullbat." Come watch nesting birds at Nestcams. More

North American RangeThe Common Nighthawk is a cryptic bird most often seen in flight, when it can be easily identified by the white bar across each long, pointed wing. This mottled gray and black bird has large eyes. It also has a tiny beak with a large gape, surrounded by stiff feathers called rictal bristles, which help the bird catch its aerial prey. More

The Common Nighthawk is a nightjar that resides in the open country of North America, including widespread areas of the United States. This species may also be found in burned forest areas. They nest on the bare ground, and at times atop stumps or roofs. In winter months, the Common Nighthawk will migrate to South America, and rarely to western Europe. This species migrates in flocks. They hunt for food at dawn and dusk, catching flying insects on their wings. More

Common NighthawkThe common nighthawk is not really a hawk. It is actually a member of the nightjar family. The nightjar family includes the whip-poor-will and the common poorwill. The common nighthawk is a jay-sized bird about 10 inches in length. It has mottled grayish-brown feathers, a long forked tail and long pointed wings with a broad white wing bar. The common nighthawk has a large mouth with bristles that help it catch insects. More

Common NighthawkCommon Nighthawk Nighthawks are ground-nesters that normally breed in clearings, prairies, burned areas, cultivated fields, rocky outcrops, and other open or semi-open habitats. The male nighthawk performs a spectacular aerial display over the nest site. He first circles high above the site while giving distinctive loud nasal "peent" calls and then suddenly dives steeply toward the sitting female with wings held in a stiff "V. More

Common Nighthawk in flight - (W. Schmoker) The Uncommon More

The common nighthawk breeds from the Yukon east to Nova Scotia and south through most of the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii. It winters in South America. The common nighthawk is a threatened species in New Hampshire. Scientists believe this may be due to nesting habitat loss and increased use of insecticides that kill the insects that the common nighthawk need to survive. Habitat The common nighthawk is found in open woodlands, clearings or fields. More

Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound Transcript-198 = View Show Summary & Photo Play MP3 Download MP3 BirdNote® Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound This is BirdNote! This bird-sound vividly evokes a warm summer evening. It’s the flight call of the Common Nighthawk. Loping overhead with its long slender wings at dusk, the nighthawk chases down aerial insects with sudden, choppy shifts of direction. More

The common nighthawk is a beautiful bird with a white stripe on each wing. They are 8-10 inches tall. Did you know that they have easy strokes and pointed wings? They make a sound like pee-ilk and keeeeeer. The common nighthawk lives in South America in the winter. They also live in grasslands, open woods and cities. More

Common Nighthawk remains poorly known. Most studies of this species have been short-term and anecdotal in nature and specific data about much of its life history are scarce, particularly from the southern part of its breeding range and from its South American wintering grounds. This nighthawk is often observed on the wing, hawking insects at dusk and dawn over urban and rural areas. More

Features: The Common Nighthawk (Chordelies minor) is a medium-sized bird, active at night or at twilight. It has cryptic plumage, long wings, short legs, and a very short bill. Its wide mouth scoops up large insects on the wing, and its flight is very agile, silent and erratic. Common Nighthawks build no nest, laying their eggs instead on the bare ground. Their nasal call is a common sound during the summer both in cities and the countryside. More

Common Nighthawk, by John James Audubon, watercolor, accession number 1863.17.147. The Common Nighthawk pictured here is not related to hawks. Unlike a hawk, they have small, weak feet without talons that make perching difficult, let alone grabbing and rip- tearing prey. Also a short, weak bill framing a disproportionately large mouth - the better to scoop up flying insects that make up their diet (beetles, moths, mosquitoes, swarming ants, et al.. More

The common nighthawk is nine to ten inches (23 to 25 cm) long. It breeds from Canada to the West Indies and winters in Mexico and South America. It is found in open woods and in cities. During courtship, the male makes a series of aerial dives ending with a booming sound created by air channeled through the wing feathers. The lesser nighthawk, or Texas nighthawk, is eight to nine inches (20 to 23 cm) long and is lighter colored than the common nighthawk. More

Common Nighthawk ID TipsIdentification tips for the Common Nighthawk Common Nighthawk's CallListen to the Common Nighthawk (Sound file provided by and copyrighted to, 2003) Range Map: (Click map to enlarge.) Common Nighthawk Breeding Map USGS Breeding Map Additional Information: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Photos, description, sound, range, and conservation status. More

The common nighthawk is a gray-brown bird with narrow wings. They have a white stripe on each wing. Their tails are notched. Underneath their chin is also white. Males have a white band across their tail. Voice They have a nasal pee-ik or peent. Habitat This nighthawk is found in open pine woods and open country. They can also be seen sitting on fence posts, roof-tops, wires, and on the ground. More

Picture of Chordeiles minor above has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution.
Original source: Keaton Wilson
Author: Keaton Wilson
Permission: Some rights reserved
Order : Caprimulgiformes
Family : Caprimulgidae
Genus : Chordeiles
Species : minor
Authority : (Forster, 1771)