The Puerto Rican Nightjar (Antrostomus noctitherus), also known as the "chotacabras Boricua," is a bird species endemic to Puerto Rico. It belongs to the family Caprimulgidae and is the only resident nightjar on the island.
The Puerto Rican Nightjar has a distinct appearance with a brownish-gray plumage patterned with white and black speckles, and a vertical white stripe on its throat. It also has large dark eyes, a short bill, and a long tail with white tips. It averages around 20 centimeters in length, making it a mid-sized nightjar.
This species thrives in a variety of habitats ranging from dry forests and coastal scrublands to disturbed habitats like farmlands and roadsides. They are also known to nest on the ground among rocks, within leaf litter, or near tree bases. At night, they rely on their excellent camouflage and stillness to avoid predators while using their large eyes to catch insects on the wing.
The Puerto Rican Nightjar is highly vocal, with several prominent calls that sound like “whee-oo” or a quick “quirit.” These calls are often heard in the early morning or late at night during breeding season. Males will also use a complex courtship display involving wings, tail, and vocalizations to attract and impress females.
Sadly, the Puerto Rican Nightjar faces several threats, including habitat loss due to deforestation and urban development, predation by invasive mammals, and climate change. As a result, it is considered a species of "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List, but conservation efforts are still needed to ensure its survival.
In summary, the Puerto Rican Nightjar is a fascinating and unique bird species indigenous to Puerto Rico. Its intricate plumage and vocalizations, as well as its adaptability to different habitats, make it an important part of the island’s biodiversity.