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Common Poorwill

Phalaenoptilus nuttallii ORDER: CAPRIMULGIFORMES FAMILY: CAPRIMULGIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small nightjar of the arid West, the Common Poorwill is the smallest member of its family in North America. It is one of the few birds known to hibernate during the winter.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
7.5–8.3 in
19–21 cm
Weight
1.3–1.9 oz
36–55 g
Other Names
  • Poor-will
  • Engoulevent de Nuttall (French)
  • Pachacue común (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Common Poorwill can slow its metabolic rate and drop its body temperature, going into a hibernation-like state known as "torpor." In periods of cold weather, a poorwill may stay in torpor for several weeks. Although probably not true hibernation, topor allows the bird to go long periods of time without food and can help it survive cold spells when its insect prey would not be active.
  • Common Poorwills in the laboratory readily enter torpor when deprived of food.

Habitat


Scrub

Dry, open,grassy or shrubby areas.

Food


Insects

Night-flying insects.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Egg Description
White or pinkish.
Nest Description

No nest structure; eggs laid on ground.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Aerial Forager

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

May be increasing.

Credits

  • Csada, R. D. and R. M. Brigham. 1992. Common Poorwill (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii). In The Birds of North America, No. 32 (A. Poole, P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, DC: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Common Poorwill Range Map
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