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Common Nighthawk - Chordeiles minor

Common Nighthawk
Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Caprimulgiformes 
 Family: Caprimulgidae 
 Genus:  Chordeiles

Common Nighthawk
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
NH Fish and Game - NH Status: Endangered in NH Endangered
   
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer cc logo
  Characteristics

Common NighthawkThe common nighthawk is not really a hawk. It is actually a member of the nightjar family. The nightjar family includes the whip-poor-will and the common poorwill. The common nighthawk is a jay-sized bird about 10 inches in length. It has mottled grayish-brown feathers, a long forked tail and long pointed wings with a broad white wing bar.

Common NighthawkThe common nighthawk has a large mouth with bristles that help it catch insects. Males have a white throat patch and a white tail bar. Females have light brown or cinnamon colored throat patch and no tail bar.

  Range

mapThe common nighthawk breeds from the Yukon east to Nova Scotia and south through most of the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii. It winters in South America. The common nighthawk is an endangered species in New Hampshire. Scientists believe this may be due to nesting habitat loss and increased use of insecticides that kill the insects that the common nighthawk needs to survive.nighthawk can be found in open woodlands, clearings or fields. It can also be found in towns and cities.

  Habitat

Common NighthawkThe common nighthawk is found in open woodlands, clearings, and fields. It is also found in towns and cities.

 

 

  Diet
Common NighthawkWhile in flight, the common nighthawk catches flying insects like flying ants, mosquitoes, moths and grasshoppers. It feeds at dawn, dusk and at night. It will sometimes feed during the day, especially if it is overcast. It is sometimes called the mosquito hawk.
  Life Cycle
Common NighthawkMating season runs from April through July. The nighthawk doesn't build a nest. The female lays from 1-3 eggs on the ground in an open gravely or lightly vegetated area. In cities and towns she will often lay her eggs on a flat gravel-covered roof. The female incubates the eggs for about 19 days. The chicks can move about on their own shortly after birth but will be feed by both their parents for about a month. They will start to fly when they are around 23 days old.

  Behavior
The common nighthawk has adapted to city life. Flat roofs make good nesting spots. Baseball fields and other open areas that have artificial lights attract insects, making them good hunting spots  for the common nighthawk.

 


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