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Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor




Threatened (Federal)
Yellow List (Provincial)


The Common Nighthawk is a medium sized bird, mostly dark brown all over with specks of white, black, and tan, as well as a distinctive white bar on the underside of the wings and tail/. They have long, narrow, pointed wings, and a long notched tail. Nighthawks have large eyes and a small visible beak tip that disguises its very large mouth. Adult males make a deep “booming” sound during courtship display flights.

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. They do not build nests, but lay eggs on open, rocky ground.
Nighthawks can be seen foraging in the air for insects throughout parts of the Okanagan and SImilkameen during the breeding season (May-Aug)


-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!

-Conserve and protect wildlife habitat
-Avoid using pesticides as much as possible
-Use extreme caution when driving on remote dirt roads during breeding season
-Do not allow pets to roam freely
-Be very alert when driving in the evenings


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