Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor




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.


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