Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor, breeds from southern Canada and southeastern Alaska to Panama, and winters in South America. It is a fairly common breeder throughout Utah. The common nighthawk prefers open habitats, such as grasslands, fields, and open forests.

The nest is built on the ground, usually in an open area. The female lays two eggs, which she then incubates for about three weeks. Both parents tend the young, feeding them with regurgitated food; the young become independent at about one month of age.

The common nighthawk is active primarily at night and during the morning hours, but it may be active during the day as well. It eats flying insects that are captured in the air.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.