Common Nighthawk

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Common Nighthawk
Missing image
CommonNighthawk23.jpg
Photo: Nighthawk


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Caprimulgiformes
Family:Caprimulgidae
Genus:Chordeiles
Species:C. minor
Binomial name
Chordeiles minor
(Forster,JR,, 1771)

The Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor, is a nightjar.

Adults are dark with brown, grey and white patterning on the upperparts and breast; the long wings are black and show a white bar in flight. The tail is dark with white barring; the underparts are white with black bars. The adult male has a white throat; the female has a light brown throat.

Their breeding habitat is open country across North America. They usually nest on bare ground, sometimes in raised locations including stumps or gravel roofs.

These birds winter in South America. They migrate in flocks. The Common Nighthawk is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

They catch flying insects on the wing, mainly foraging near dawn and dusk, 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.

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