Nighthawk

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For the stealth aircraft, see F-117 Nighthawk.
Nighthawk
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Caprimulgiformes
Family:Caprimulgidae
Genera

Nyctiprogne
Podager
Lurocalis
Chordeiles

Nighthawks are birds of the nightjar family in the New World subfamily Chordeilinae.

They are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground and catch flying insects. Nightjars are sometimes referred to as goatsuckers from the mistaken belief that they suck milk from goats (the Latin for goatsucker is Caprimulgus).

Nighthawks have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is crypically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. Some species, unusually for birds, perch along a branch, rather than across it. This helps to conceal them during the day. They lay one or two patterned eggs directly onto bare ground.

They are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed predominately on moths and other large flying insects.

Nighthawks are similar in most respects to the typical nightjars of the Old World, but lack the latter's rictal bristles, have shorter bills, and less soft plumage. Nighthawks are less strictly nocturnal than many Old World nightjars, and may be seen hunting when there is still light in the sky.

There are about eight nighthawk species:their relationships are shown below.


  1. Nighthawk is a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics universe.
  2. Nighthawk is a comic book cowboy in the DC Comics universe.
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