Photo: Paula Cannon/Vireo

Antillean Nighthawk

Chordeiles gundlachii

A common nesting bird on islands of the Caribbean, this nighthawk enters our area only in southern Florida. When it was first discovered there in 1941 it was considered to be only a subspecies of the Common Nighthawk, as it looks very similar; however, its voice is different. Where Antillean and Common nighthawks meet on the Florida Keys, they appear to compete and to defend territories against each other.
Conservation status Probably increased in Florida through the 1970s as land on the Keys was being cleared, now declining again as land is developed.
Family Nightjars
Habitat Open areas. In Florida this nighthawk is concentrated around undeveloped open ground, such as airports vacant lots, fields. In the Caribbean it inhabits semi-open terrain including open woods, fields, farmland.
A common nesting bird on islands of the Caribbean, this nighthawk enters our area only in southern Florida. When it was first discovered there in 1941 it was considered to be only a subspecies of the Common Nighthawk, as it looks very similar; however, its voice is different. Where Antillean and Common nighthawks meet on the Florida Keys, they appear to compete and to defend territories against each other.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female, rufous morph
Feeding Behavior

Similar to that of Common Nighthawk, catching insects during high, erratic flight.


Eggs

1 or 2. White to pale cream, dotted with brown or gray. Incubation is probably by female only. Young: Probably fed by both parents.


Young

Probably fed by both parents.

Diet

Flying insects.


Nesting

Behavior is similar to that of Common Nighthawk, but the "booming" sound during the flight display is thinner and quieter. Nest site is on bare open ground, sometimes on flat gravel roofs. No nest built; eggs laid directly on flat surface.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Strictly a summer resident in Florida, present from late April to September, but winter range is poorly known.

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Migration

Strictly a summer resident in Florida, present from late April to September, but winter range is poorly known.

Songs and Calls
A dry killy-ka-dick, often repeated.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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