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threatened and/or endangered

Chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgus carolinensis


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credit: Tromba Marina/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Caprimulgidae, Nightjars view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Reddish brown overall, with intricate pattern of gray and black on upperparts and barring on underparts. Note the whitish collar, dark breast, and pale wing bar. Tail has buffy tips and white inner webs to outer feathers. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but white is absent on tail. JUVENILE Similar to adult female.

Dimensions Length: 12" (30 cm)

Habitat Summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) favoring mixed woodland. Winters mainly in Central America but some remain in southern Florida.

Observation Tips Listen for the distinctive song.

Range Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Eastern Canada, Southeast

Voice Song is chuck-wee-whidow.

Discussion Nocturnal species, heard more often than it is seen. Hawks insects after dark, catching prey in its capacious mouth; tail is proportionately longer than that of the otherwise quite similar Whip-poor-will. Beautifully patterned plumage gives it good camouflage when resting on the ground among fallen leaves and branches. Sexes are separable.