Common Pauraque

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)
Common Pauraque

Order : Caprimulgidae
Any of about 100 species of soft plumed birds with cryptically coloured and patterned plumage, short legs, and for the most part, long wings. Most are twilight or night flying birds, and many produce startling, strange or weirdly beautiful sounds and are surrounded by an aura of mystery. The order includes the cosmopolitan Nightjars, the Frogmouths of Australasia and south east Asia, the Australasian Owlet-nightjars, and the South American Potoos and Oilbird. All are insectivorous with the exception of the Oilbird which is the worlds only nocturnal bird that eats plant food.

Family : Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Nightjars are made up of about 60 or 70 species of birds that occur world wide except in New Zealand and some Islands of Oceania, and include the American relatives the Nighthawk, Poorwill and Pauraque. They feed predominantly on moths and other flying insects, usually taken on the wing at dusk or dawn which is when they are most active. Some species perch along a branch to assist in concealment.

Name : Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)
Length : 28 cm (11 in )

The Pauraque spends the day resting in shaded grass or thicket on the ground, on nothing more than bare earth. It becomes active after the sun has set, flying to a favourite open spot, usually on a dirt pathway or similar clearing where it will rest on the ground and watch for moths and other flying insects, flying up from the ground to take it’s prey on the wing. The male will call constantly, a whistled phrase ‘ker-whee-oo’, in the hope of locating a mate. Should he hear a reply he will beat his wings on the bare earth in a cupped fashion, the sound emitted is like that of a drum being played with cupped hands rather than anything you could expect from a bird. Should another Pauraque land on the track he will fly to it, and if finding another male, he will chase it off with both birds often showing unbelievable dexterity and maneuverability which is only heightened by their silent flight. The Pauraque can perch on branches, but does so only as an escape from possible danger, or while moving to locate the reply’s from another bird, spending the predominant amount of the time on the ground. It’s a strongly patterned bird, being a mottled brown with a bold white bar on each wing. The male having white outer tail feathers.

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Bird identification pictures

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) Close up photo of nightjar on ground
Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) Adult Nightjar

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) chicks
Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) hatchlings