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Lesser Nighthawk

Lesser Nighthawk
Photo Information
Copyright: Jane Magen (jaycee) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon SX10IS
Exposure: f/5.7, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -4- [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-07-11 7:44
Viewed: 3235
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Thank you to everyone who recognized this bird. It is always a thrill to spot a bird you haven't seen before but even more exciting once you are told what bird it is.

Lesser Nighthawk

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Caprimulgiformes
Family: Caprimulgidae
Genus: Chordeiles
Species: C. acutipennis
Binomial name
Chordeiles acutipennis

The Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis, is a nightjar found throughout a large part of the Americas.

The adults are dark with brown, grey and white patterning on the upperparts and breast; the long upperwings are black and show a white bar in flight. The tail is dark with white barring; the underparts are buffy with fine black horizontal streaking. The adult male has a white throat; the female has a light brown throat. This bird looks similar to the Common Nighthawk, but is slightly smaller, has a slightly less deeply forked tail, and is more buffy in coloration. The calls are also completely different. The Lesser Nighthawk has a rapid, low whistled melodious trill, lasting several seconds. It is usually heard only near breeding areas.

Their breeding habitat is open country from southwest United States through Central America to tropical South America. They usually nest on bare ground, sometimes in raised locations including stumps and boulders or flat house roofs. The two eggs are laid directly on bare ground--there is no nest. Incubation is performed largely by the female and lasts for about 20 days. Young fledge at about 20 days of age. Adults flushed from the nest may try to distract the intruder or defend the nest site by aerial attack. Young birds sometimes perform a defense display by opening up their mouths and spreading their wings, looking to appear threatening and looking larger than they actually are before they run off.

These birds are partial migrants. The Lesser Nighthawk retreats from the United States and northern Mexico during the winter months. Occasionally single birds may be found overwintering. The nighthawk is also occasionally found as a vagrant to the US Gulf Coast states to Florida.

They catch flying insects on the wing, mainly foraging near dawn and dusk (crepuscular), sometimes at night with a full moon or near street lighting.


Dis. Ac., Miss_Piggy, Alex99, goldyrs, Hormon_Manyer, marhowie, Silvio2006, siggi, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To tuslaw: Welcome Homejaycee 1 07-13 18:56
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-07-11 8:25]

Hello Jane,
Welcome back!
A very fine capture of what I believe is a Common Nighthawk taken from a great POV with nice sharpness and colours.
This must be a first on TN.
Well done and thanks,
I hope you are keeping well,

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-07-11 8:25]

Hello Jane
Wonderful capture. I don't know exactly the specie, but is a Nightjar specie (Caprimulgus).
Thanks for sharing

Hallo Jane,
nice to see a new picture from you; about the ID i think that this one is Caprimulgus (Caprimulgidae), sorry i do not know the species; a superb capture of this splendid bird with twilight habits, very good sharpness and marvellous colours, excellent POV and composition.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-07-11 11:28]

Hello Jane,
Great to see a post from you again and brilliant capture too! This is a fascinating species and you show fantastic details and colours of the plumage. Great focus on the eye too and I like the way it looks camouflaged againsst the background. Very well done!!
TFS and all the best wishes, Ulla

Hi Jane, this surely isn't any kind of a dove :)
This bird is a nighthawk, as others noted earlier it belongs to the order Caprimulgiformes. I'm by no means an expert on North American birds, but I'd rather identify this bird as a juvenile Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis) as opposed to a Common Nighthawk proposed by Ivan. The reason is the primaries projection - this bird's primaries reach the tip of the tail (which is a feature of Lesser), while the primaries of a Common project well beyond the tail tip. Lesser Nighthawk is a more southern species, but it occurs in southern Arizona, where you took this picture. By the way, a very good picture :)


Wonderful shot Jane. A good side profile. His feathers don't look like they're to blend with tree bark, so likely the ground. It's a beautiful bird. What a funny shaped eye. TFS Trevor

Hello Jane,

welcome back.
Great shot from this bird and I have it never been seen before.
Good details and fine colours.


Hallo Jane
It is good to see you back, and wow what a beauty you share with us. I am totally fascinated by the beautiful detail this Lesser Nighthawk has in its plumage. For me personally it looks like crochet work or lace. The combination of colours in the feathers is also lovely and the eye is very interesting to look at as it has an unusual shape, but boy does it shine. This is really a great image with lots of lovely details I did not even start to mention. I like the centralized composition, the view point, the pose and the natural surrounding in which it is captured. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-07-12 2:41]

Hi Jane.
I am very pleased to see you here again and again with superb picture. Tremendous details of the bird, amazing 3D-effect and wonderful natural BG which is blurred a bit with ultimate exactness. Bravo, thanks a lot and warm greetings.

My dear friend Jane, is a pleasure to hear from you again! I hope you're fine!!!
You have returned with a beautiful bird "almost made it in stone... This type of camouflage is a really impressive, seems not feathery, instead they look like small slabs of stone arranged on the bird around the body. The POV is perfect, and the picture has an environment suitable for the coloration of the bird. This is a very interesting picture. I'm glad to see again your birds photographed with your "very well used" SX10!
Regards, TFS, Jesús

Hey Sis!
Sorry for being away for this long!
But in all honesty, I've no interest in anything right now....Am still stunned by her death!
Mark's trying to cope, he's still a kid, I try to keep him occupied.
Mom's just broken, and I simply dunno if I can handle this, still...am trying.
I love this shot, and I loved your words in my previous shot!
thanks so very much, you're the best!

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-07-13 5:16]

Hello Jane,
nice sharpness of this so smooth and dark bird. I have never seen this hawk, though it might be many there.
I like the short beak which makes it so special and unique. furthermore the big eye gives a good view.
well seen in its best details and sharpness, especiall the neat plumage.


Hi Jane,
Perfect camouflage photo, fantastic pose and sharpness and classical composition. Congrats for the great shot and for debuting this species on TN.
Best regards, László

hello Jane
this is a very good picture with very good details
SUPER sharpness and beautiful colours
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-07-13 18:25]
  • [+]

Hello Jane,
Tonight is the first I've been on TN since we got back. I have had a total of 8 hours of sleep since Sunday, so I've been pretty tuckered out. I haven't even gotten my pictures sorted out yet, so I'm not sure when I'll be posting.
This is a fantastic shot of a Nighthawk, everything is of top quality. The pose shows it's plumage off extremely well and the detail and colors are outstanding.
I have seen these unusual birds on a few occasions, but have never gotten this close to one. It was sure fun visiting you guys, Rosie and I had a great time. Thanks for your gracious hospitality, especially the wonderful views of your birds as well as the sweets.

Great shot Jane, isn't it great when you get the chance to capture something new..I know how excited I got when first saw the polyphemus moth, it was just like the old days :)
Exposure and details look very good, nice catch-light & natural color too.
Well done!

Ciao Jane, belated congratulations for your four years on TN, great lovely bird, splendid details and excellent sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-07-23 3:57]

Hello Jane.
Superb shot of this Lesser Nighthawk,
wonderful sharp details, fine pose of this lovely bird, beautiful colors and BG
Best regards Siggi

hello Jane

this it is an excellent and very very beautiful photo,
with fine POV, DOF and framing, superbly focused
great sharpness and details of its wonderful plumage,
the very very small catch-light render the photo
more beautiful and the luminosity is very very lovely,



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