Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk
(Chordeiles minor)

Order:  Caprimulgiformes
Family:  Caprimulgidae

Common Nighthawk Information

Length:  9 - 10"

Habitat:  Open or semi-open habitats such as forest clearings, grasslands, farmland, burned-over areas, fields, and beaches. Also found in towns and cities.

Diet:  Many species of flying insects, including
mosquitoes, beetles, flying ants, moths, and grasshoppers.

  Sounds of the Common Nighthawk

Additional Information

Common Nighthawk
Description, habitat, distribution, behavior, diet, reproduction, predators, lifespan, and conservation status. Includes photos and range map. (From Wikipedia)

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

By Reago & McClarren [CC 2.0]

Common Nighthawk
Identification Tips

  • Very short bill
  • Blackish upperparts with gray and white patterning
  • Brown and white patterning on head and chest
  • Underparts with heavy dark bars
  • Dark wings with conspicuous pale patch midway out from bend in wing
  • Dark tail with thin white bars
Adult Male
  • White throat
Adult Female
  • Buff throat

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Common Nighthawk Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Common Nighthawk breeds throughout New England, although this is not shown on the USGS map above. See Cornell map below.

This bird winters in South America.

Range Map from Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Year-round Map from eBird

Year-round sightings of the Common Nighthawk from over past 10 years (2009-2019)

Note: This map may underestimate the population of this bird due to the difficulty in sighting it.