The Plain Nightjar bird, also known as common nighthawk is a bird species found across North and South America. A highly adaptable bird, it is found in a variety of habitats including forests, open fields, and urban areas. The Plain Nightjar is known for its distinctive appearance, unusual behavior, and vocalizations.
The Plain Nightjar is a medium-sized bird with a length of around 25-30 cm and a wingspan of up to 60 cm. Scientists have identified two subspecies of the bird; the Chordeiles minor minor, and the Chordeiles minor sennetti. The bird has a mottled grey-brown plumage, with a white throat and underparts. Their wings are long and pointed, with a distinctive white bar on the underside.
Plain Nightjars have an unusual way of hunting. They take to the air in the late afternoon or early evening, using their pointed wings to glide and twist through the air to catch insects. They are known to eat a variety of insects, including moths, beetles, and flying ants.
Their distinctive calls are another trademark of the Plain Nightjar. The bird produces a "peeent" sound in flight that is easily identifiable. Due to its calls and nocturnal behavior, the Plain Nightjar is often called a "goatsucker".
During breeding season (June to August), the Plain Nightjar constructs a very basic nest on the ground in a sheltered location, usually among rocks and vegetation. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for around three weeks.
The Plain Nightjar is not considered endangered or threatened. Its ability to adapt to a range of environments and its wide distribution across the Americas have helped it to maintain stable populations. However, the bird is vulnerable to harm from human activities such as habitat loss, accidental capture in fishing nets, and collisions with cars and buildings.
Overall, the Plain Nightjar is a fascinating and unique bird species that is worth admiring. Its distinctive appearance, behavior, and vocalizations make it a favorite among birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.