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Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor

Photo:Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles
Common Nighthawk. Photo:Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles

On a warm summer evening in city, suburbs, or wilderness, you may hear a buzzy 'peent' emanating from overhead. Scan the sky and you may catch sight of the aerial acrobatics of the common nighthawk. The common nighthawk is not a hawk at all, but is actually a member of the goatsucker family. This bird engulfs high-flying insects on the wing with it's huge mouth. Surely this species, where abundant, does much to control insect populations. The nighthawk traditionally nests on the ground in wide open areas such as burns and clearcuts. During the last century, this species has learned to nest on flat, gravel-covered roofs, which explains why it is often heard and seen in unexpected areas, such as downtown Montreal. Despite its ability to adapt to human settlement, this species has been declining across much of it's North American range.

Map of Common Nighthawk in Canada
Distribution of Common Nighthawk in Canada

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