Chordeiles acutipennis


The Lesser Nighthawk is nocturnal and hunts for insects, which it catches in the air, by flying close to the ground. The prey consits of small insects, such as flying ants, mosquitoes, beetles, moths, and grasshoppers. During courtship the male pursues the female close to the ground, flashing his white throat as he calls.


General: 8 to 9 inches in length.

Adult Male: Mottled brown and white upperparts. Mottled gray and white underparts with dark belly bars. Very short bill. White throat. Dark wings with conspicuous white patch 2/3 of the way out from the bend in the wing (visible in flight). Dark brown tail with thin white bars across top.

Adult Female: Similar to adult male, except has buff-colored throat and buff spots on inner primaries.


Large open arid scrublands; desert valleys; prairies and pastures.


2 whitish to pale gray eggs with spots. The eggs have a 18-19 day incubation period. Incubation is carried out mostly or entirely by the female. Fledging occurs in 21 days. The eggs are laid on open ground among small pebbles. No other nesting material is used.

Observed Locations:

  • Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego

  Listen To This Bird ( mp3 )
         Song #1

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Lone Pine, CA

Lone Pine, CA

details | XL View

details | XL View




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