Chordeiles minor - (Forster, 1771)
Common Nighthawk
Other English Common Names: common nighthawk
Other Common Names: Bacurau-Americano
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Chordeiles minor (J. R. Forster, 1771) (TSN 177979)
French Common Names: engoulevent d'Amérique
Spanish Common Names: Chotacabras Zumbón, Añapero Migratorio
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102646
Element Code: ABNTA02020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 10689

© Dick Cannings

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Chordeiles
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Chordeiles minor
Taxonomic Comments: Chordeiles minor and C. gundlachii are treated as conspecific by some authors (AOU 1983; see Stevenson et al. 1983 for differences) and constitute a superspecies (AOU 1998). See Dickerman (1990) for information on plumage variation of juveniles in North America (some discussion of subspecies).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 02Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large breeding range mainly in North America; presumed large population size; many subpopulations; BBS data suggest long-term slow decline, possibly resulting from habitat loss, pesticide use, or increased predation on nests.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4B,N3M (25Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S2B), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (S1B), Delaware (S2B), District of Columbia (S4N), Florida (S5B), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4B), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S5B), Kansas (S5B), Kentucky (S4S5B), Louisiana (S5B), Maine (S4B), Maryland (S2S3B), Massachusetts (S2B,S5M), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S4B), Missouri (SNRB), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S4S5B), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S5B), New Hampshire (S1B), New Jersey (S3B,S3N), New Mexico (S4B,S4N), New York (S2S3B), North Carolina (S3B), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S5B), Oregon (S5B), Pennsylvania (S3S4B), Rhode Island (S1B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4B), Utah (S4S5B), Vermont (S1B), Virginia (S4), Washington (S4B), West Virginia (S2B), Wisconsin (S2S3B), Wyoming (S5B,S5N)
Canada Alberta (S3S4B), British Columbia (S4B), Labrador (S2B,SUM), Manitoba (S3B), New Brunswick (S3B,S4M), Northwest Territories (S2B), Nova Scotia (S2S3B), Nunavut (S2B,S2M), Ontario (S4B), Prince Edward Island (S1B), Quebec (S3), Saskatchewan (S4S5B,S4S5M), Yukon Territory (S3B)

Other Statuses

Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: T (23Feb2010)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Threatened (22Apr2007)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for Designation: In Canada, this species has shown both long and short-term declines in population. A 49% decline was determined for areas surveyed over the last three generations. Reduction of food sources has apparently contributed to the decline of this species, as with several other aerial insectivores. Reductions in habitat availability, caused by fire suppression, intensive agriculture, and declines in the number of gravel rooftops in urban areas, may also be factors in some regions.

Status History: Designated Threatened in April 2007. Assessment based on a new status report.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Nesting range extends from southern Yukon, southern Mackenzie, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, northern Ontario, central Quebec, southern Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia south virtually throughout North America to California, south-central Nevada, Arizona, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida in the United States; also Middle America from Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, south through central Guatemala to western Honduras, and along Atlantic slope locally from Tamaulipas through southern Veracruz, and in Belize, eastern Honduras, northern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and possibly in southeastern Colombia in South America (Poulin et al. 1996).

During the northern winter the range includes South America south to northern Argentina (Poulin et al. 1996).

In migration this species occurs throughout Middle America and the West Indies.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Breeds from central Canada southward to Nova Scotia and through most of United States. Winters in tropics. (National Audubon Society, 2014).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) with Partners in Flight (2013) estimating a global population of 16 million individuals.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 1,000,000. Partners in Flight (2013) estimated population size at 16,000,000 globally and 14 million within the U.S..

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: With an estimated global population of 16 million, there should be at least 125 good element occurrences.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Cause of the apparent decline is unknown but presumably is related to loss of breeding habitat, indiscriminate use of pesticides, and increased predation on nests (by cats, dogs, and increased populations of native predators that benefit from anthropogenic food resources) (Ehrlich et al. 1992, Poulin et al. 1996)

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a significant survey-wide decline of 2.7 percent per year for 1980-2007; this amounts to a 24 percent decline per 10 years, but the decline has been less than this over the most recent 10 years. Generation time is uncertain, but three generations probably is between 10 and 20 years. Using BBS data, the decline over the last 15 years is roughly 23 percent. However, this species is difficult to monitor, and the extent to which BBS data reflect actual population trends is uncertain. Birdlife International (2014) reports a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Long-term trend over past 200 years is unknown. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a significant survey-wide decline of 1.7 percent per year for 1966-2007; this amounts to a 50 percent decline in abundance during the time period. BBS abundance declined from an average of around 2.5 birds per route in the 1960s to an average of around 1.4-1.5 birds per route in 2000-2007, so the decline is only about 1 bird per route. Birdlife International (2014) reports a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Its ground-nesting habits make this species somewhat vulnerable to disturbance.

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Occupies a fairly-wide range of environments (Birgham, et. al. 2011).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: A better inventory of the population in certain areas where this species is getting rare is needed but this is difficult due to the nature of nightjars in general (Brigham, et. al., 2011).

Protection Needs: Minimal at this time due to overall population size.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Nesting range extends from southern Yukon, southern Mackenzie, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, northern Ontario, central Quebec, southern Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia south virtually throughout North America to California, south-central Nevada, Arizona, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida in the United States; also Middle America from Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, south through central Guatemala to western Honduras, and along Atlantic slope locally from Tamaulipas through southern Veracruz, and in Belize, eastern Honduras, northern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and possibly in southeastern Colombia in South America (Poulin et al. 1996).

During the northern winter the range includes South America south to northern Argentina (Poulin et al. 1996).

In migration this species occurs throughout Middle America and the West Indies.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002; WWF-US, 2000


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT New Haven (09009)
DE New Castle (10003), Sussex (10005)
ID Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Blaine (16013), Bonneville (16019), Cassia (16031), Owyhee (16073)
IN Boone (18011), Greene (18055), Marion (18097), Martin (18101), Tippecanoe (18157)
NH Carroll (33003), Cheshire (33005), Coos (33007), Hillsborough (33011), Merrimack (33013), Sullivan (33019)
NJ Bergen (34003), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Cape May (34009), Gloucester (34015), Monmouth (34025), Ocean (34029), Passaic (34031), Sussex (34037)
NY Jefferson (36045), Lewis (36049)
RI Providence (44007)
VT Addison (50001), Bennington (50003)
WI Florence (55037), Washburn (55129)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper Androscoggin (01040001)+, Saco (01060002)+, Merrimack (01070002)+, Contoocook (01070003)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Blackstone (01090003)+, Narragansett (01090004)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+
02 Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+
04 Menominee (04030108)+, Black (04150101)+, Oswegatchie (04150302)+, Indian (04150303)+, Otter Creek (04150402)+
05 Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Sugar (05120110)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+
07 Namekagon (07030002)+
16 Curlew Valley (16020309)+
17 Willow (17040205)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Goose (17040211)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, Middle Owyhee (17050107)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A crepuscular bird, a nightjar (nighthawk).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size 2. Incubation by female, about 19 days. Nestlings semi-precocial, tended by both parents, independent in about 30 days (Harrison 1978). Maximum longevity in the wild is 10 years.
Ecology Comments: Interspecifically territorial toward the Antillean nighthawk in the Florida Keys (Ehrlich et al. 1992).
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates through Costa Rica September-early November and March-April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Colombia, uncommon to fairly common fall migrant late August-late November, uncommon to rare in spring migration March-April (Hilty and Brown 1986).
Riverine Habitat(s): Aerial
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Palustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Habitats include mountains and plains in open and semi-open areas: open coniferous forests, savanna, grasslands, fields, vicinity of cities and towns. Nesting occurs on the ground on a bare site in an open area. In some areas, this species also nests on flat gravel roofs of buildings, perhaps related to prey availability at artificial lights. It prefers areas with sandy soil in the southern United States.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on flying insects (e.g., mosquitoes, moths, beetles, flies, caddisflies). Forages at night or during the day. Catches insects high in the air or close to the ground. May forage on insects around artificial lights. Young are fed insects by regurgitation.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Most active during the early morning and evening and at night, but may also be seen during the day.
Length: 24 centimeters
Weight: 64 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Urgently needed research for this species from a conservation perspective include data on population status (especially from the northern part of its summer range where BBS surveys are sparse) and the impacts of pesticide use on insect prey. Data are also needed to understand the factors accounting for declining incidence of nesting on gravel roofs and the potentially positive effects of deforestation. While it may not be possible, it would be instructive to know whether the use of flat gravel roofs actually increased the pre-European settlement numbers of birds. Nighthawks seem to exploit water sources for abundant insects and it is important to learn the degree of this dependency, particularly in habitats where human development may limit water bodies and also in habitats that may be altered by climate change. We need to understand factors affecting reproductive output in this species, e.g., types and amounts of nest predation, as well as longevity of breeders, reproductive effort, and nest-/roost-site characteristics. Data are lacking on breeding success in this species. Migratory routes and destinations need to be better understood, as does the fidelity of individuals to breeding and wintering sites. General information regarding the nature of the winter range is lacking. The extent of mate fidelity and factors influencing mate choice remain virtually unknown. Visual acuity and its relationship to prey selection need to be explored (Birgham, et. al. 2011).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging concentration area, Nesting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of breeding (including historical); and potential recurring breeding at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance pertains to nesting sites. This species forages widely, often gathering at foraging concentration sites that are presumably some distance from nests.
Date: 21Apr2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10Nov2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: 2009-03-17: Hammerson, G.; 2014-11-10: Minor revisions by Dean K. Jue
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Mar2009
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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