Common Nighthawk

photo by Phil Swanson

Chordeiles minor
L 9 1/2″ (24 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Nasal“‘peent,” usually heard at dusk.

Description: Long, pointed wings; and long, slightly forked tail. Bold, broad white wing bars across primaries visible in flight. Mottled brownish-black above; underparts are whitish with bold dusky bars. Male has white throat patch and white tail bar; female has buffy throat patch and lacks tail bar.

Behavior: Courtship display consists of aerial dives by the male ending in a loud, vibrant buzz.

common nighthawk
Habitat: Open habitats such as grasslands and sparse woods. Also found in cities and suburbs, perhaps being more common near humans than anywhere else.

Where in Nebraska: Abundant spring and fall migrant and summer resident across the state.

Fun Facts: Despite it’s name, not actually related to hawks. Drinks in flight, skimming water surface with lower bill.

Common Nighthawk - photo by Phil Swanson Common Nighthawk - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)