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Common Pauraque

Silhouette NightjarsNightjars
Common PauraqueNyctidromus albicollis
  • ORDER: Caprimulgiformes
  • FAMILY: Caprimulgidae

Basic Description

The Common Pauraque’s subtle brown, black, and gray plumage provides such excellent camouflage that it might as well be invisible in its daytime sleeping spots on open ground. From dusk till dawn, the male’s songs are anything but quiet, ranging from rising whistles to grunts that sound like frogs. It is skilled at catching flying insects and like all nightjars has a gaping wide mouth behind a tiny bill. Widespread in the Neotropics, the Common Pauraque ventures into the U.S. just at the southernmost tip of Texas.

More ID Info
image of range map for Common Pauraque
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Common Pauraques at dusk or early at night, when they sit in shortgrass fields and on rural roads to hunt for insects. Listen for the male’s loud whistled song at dusk in fair weather. During the day they roost under brushy vegetation, where they blend incredibly well with dead leaves. They often return to the same roosting spot day after day, and in some parks or refuges, rangers can help direct you to a promising location.

Other Names

  • Chotacabras Pauraque (Spanish)
  • Engoulevent pauraqué (French)
  • Cool Facts