Friday, January 28, 2011

Whip-poor-will

(Image Source)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Subclass : Neornithes
Order : Caprimulgiformes
Family : Caprimulgidae
Subfamily : Caprimulginae
Genus : Caprimulgus
Species : vociferus

Length : 9-10in (23-25cm)
Wingspan : 16-20in (40.5-51cm)

IUCN Status : Least Concern

The Whip-poor-will is a migratory Nightjar that spends its summers in the Eastern United States and it's winters further south into Mexico and Central America. Their name is an onomatopoeia that reflects that type of sound that they make. In their range they are typically heard but not seen; Whip-poor-wills have grayish-brown mottled feathers that serves as excellent camouflage.

Whip-poor-wills are nocturnal predators, and feed off of flying insects. They hunt by waiting at a perch and then swooping down on their prey, they also sometimes chase after the insects for sustained flights.

Whip-poor-wills have some pretty interesting nesting habits. First off, they don't build nests at all, they lay their eggs on leaves. Eggs are laid in cycle with the moon phases, so that the adults are able to forage all night during the full moon. This allows them to feed their chicks more. After the chicks hatch they tend to stay spread out, hiding among the leaves so that it is more difficult for predators to find them.

Whip-poor-wills are least as being of Least Concern, but it is believed that they are declining in certain areas. Their camouflage makes it difficult to perform an accurate census.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love these guys! I gave a presentation about them in my Natural History Class. It was such fun.

    Purple Carrots and Fairy Smoke

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