05 July, 2011

Common Nighthawk

Scientific Name: Chordeiles minor

Population Estimate: 11M

Range / Habitat: Full migrant from most of South America excluding Chile up to western Mexico, all of the US and most of Canada. Found year-round in Caribbean islands. Found in a variety of habitats, both urban and rural, but prefers grasslands for breeding.

Field Notes: Distinct nightjar shape and cryptic coloring (Sibley's phrase) as seen above. Long, dark primaries with white bar at the base (seen in flight) which distinguishes from Common Poorwill, Whip-poor-will and Chuck Will's-widow. Swift shape but larger when flying, which is primarily at dawn and dusk, catching insects.

Personal Notes: First seen feeding on bugs at dusk during a walk at Birdwing Spa in Litchfield MN. We were latter pleased to come across the above bird on a hike to Coney Lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.

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