Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor

Status

Threatened

Description

The Common Nighthawk is a medium sized bird that is 24 cm in length and weighs about 64 g. They have long, narrow, pointed wings, and a long notched tail. Its head is large and flattened and it has large eyes and a small beak. The coloring is dark brown with specks of white, black, and tan. Distinctive white patch on both sides of each wing, and erratic flight pattern. Adult males make a deep “booming” sound during courtship display flights.

Habitat

This species prefers open, vegetation-free habitats such as dunes, beaches, recently harvested forests, burned areas, logged areas, rocky outcrops, rocky barrens, grasslands, pastures, peat bogs, marshes, lakeshores, river banks, flat gravel-covered roofs, and gravel roads. Lays its eggs on open ground.

Threats

Decrease in insects available to eat; likely caused by the increased use of pesticides
Loss of breeding habitat
Predation by domestic and feral pets
Fire suppression
Vehicle road mortality

You Can Help!

Use integrated pest management and try to avoid use of pesticides
Learn about prescribed fires
Leave habitat suitable for Common Nighthawks undisturbed
Watch for them along/on gravel roads
Keep pets inside or on-leash

Resources

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