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Birds of Yosemite National Park (1954, 1963) by Cyril A. Stebbins and Robert C. Stebbins


GOATSUCKER-LIKE BIRDS: Order Caprimulgiformes

GOATSUCKERS: Family Caprimulgidae

COMMON NIGHTHAWK
COMMON NIGHTHAWK
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor): 8 1/2-10 in. Above black, marked with gray and brown; tail forked; white band crosses outer tail feathers near tip, wanting in female; white across throat, bully in female; white band midway between tip and bend in long, slender wings; under parts gray, cross-barred with dusky. Forages in the air usually at dusk, catching insects with its large, widely opened mouth. Flight erratic. Voice a harsh rasping speeink. May dive toward the ground with extended, fixed wings. At the bottom of the swoop the wings are bent suddenly downward and a startling sound, “whoof,” is produced by the rush of air through the primary feathers. Eggs laid on bare ground.

Frequents open coniferous forests of high mountains in summer, usually where there is open rocky ground for nesting. S. V. in the Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian life zones in the Yosemite region. Seen chiefly in high mountain areas such as Tuolumne Meadows, at Merced and Vogelsang Lakes, and occasionally in Yosemite Valley.


POOR-WILL
POOR-WILL
POOR-WILL (Phalrenoptilus nuttallii): 7-8 in. Grayish-brown, marked with black and silvery gray; darker below; white band on throat bordered with black; white tips on outer tail feathers; tail short, cut straight across; no white wing-bars seen in flight as in nighthawks; mouth large, bristled. Forages later and at a lower elevation than the booming nighthawk. Song a plaintive whistle, poor-will, the second note slurred, longer and lower than first.

Frequents rocky, gravelly terrain or bare soil, grown scatteringly to bushes and trees. Frequents the Lower Sonoran to the Transition life zone, from San Joaquin Valley to Yosemite Valley. S. V. at lower elevations in Yosemite.



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