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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)




Common Nighthawk | Chordeiles minor photo
Common Nighthawk, Benson Pond, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Photograph by Alan And Elaine Wilson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK FACTS

Description
Common Nighthawks are medium-sized birds with large mouths and large eyes. They are patterned with bars of browns, grays and white for good camouflage. The tail is notched tail and wings are long and pointed with white patches on the primary feathers. Males have a white band on the tail and white patch on the throat patch. Females have less white, no tail band and brown throat.

Size
length 22cm - 24cm

Environment
coastal dunes, beaches, woodland, grasslands, savanna, sagebrush plains, open forests. farmland, urban areas.

Food
insects which it catches in the air. The large eyes help them locate prey in the dark. They have good night vision, and have a similar mirror-like structure at the back of each eye to gather more light to the retina in the same way as owls.

Breeding
Common nighthawks nest sites on the ground in open areas near long grass, shrubs, logs, or rocks. The nest are laid on the ground on sand, gravel, leaves, or rock. Lays a clutch of two eggs which hatch after incubation of 18-20 days. The eggs are pale, with gray, brown and black. blotches.

Range
breeds throughout much of North America and parts of Central America.

Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Caprimulgiformes
Family:Caprimulgidae
Genus:Chordeiles
Species:minor
Common Name:Common Nighthawk