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You got it right! The Common Nighthawk is an expert at camouflage with the various colors of a tree branch. When perched, note the large head, short bill, tiny legs, and the tiny white patch on the lower wing. When flying, note the long, pointed wings with the evident white patches. During the day, they roost, and at night, they become “nighthawks” and catch flying insects.

Edited by akandula

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1 hour ago, akandula said:

You got it right! The Common Nighthawk is an expert at camouflage with the various colors of a tree branch. When perched, note the large head, short bill, tiny legs, and the tiny white patch on the lower wing. When flying, note the long, pointed wings with the evident white patches. During the day, they roost, and at night, they become “nighthawks” and catch flying insects.

Sorry, I meant to say that they forage at dawn and dusk, not at night.

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I had tried every descriptor I could think of and right after I posted this I searched for "woodland bird with horizontal chest stripes"  and he popped up.  Thanks for the confirmation.

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Great bird!  I hear their cousins, Chuck's-Poor-Wills, every summer but have yet to definitively see one.  I may have seen one during the solar eclipse a couple of years ago.  At least, something the approximate right size and shape cut across the tree line during totality.

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6 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Great bird!  I hear their cousins, Chuck's-Poor-Wills, every summer but have yet to definitively see one.  I may have seen one during the solar eclipse a couple of years ago.  At least, something the approximate right size and shape cut across the tree line during totality.

Do you mean the Chuck-will's-widow? Or the Eastern Whip-poor-will?

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8 minutes ago, akandula said:

Do you mean the Chuck-will's-widow? Or the Eastern Whip-poor-will?

Oops, Chuck-Will's-Widow.  I have a case of Fumble-Fingers this morning.  Thanks!

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47 minutes ago, Jodi Nielson said:

I had tried every descriptor I could think of and right after I posted this I searched for "woodland bird with horizontal chest stripes"  and he popped up.  Thanks for the confirmation.

Yes, two of the best ID features that separate nighthawks from other nightjars while perched are the contrasty horizontal chest/belly stripes as well as the white wing patches.

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