Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors needed...


Distinguishing Characteristics

19 - 23 cm. Iris brown, bill black. Crown dark brown. Whitish eyebrow. Upperparts spotted grayish brown and mottled blackish, gray and buff. White throat. Underparts buff-white, closely barred brownish. Wings, long, slender and pointed; at rest wing-tips usually close to tail tip. Tail long and cleft. Gray legs. There are geographical differences between races. Males and females are different. Male: 34 - 62 g. Flight feathers of wings reddish at base. Outer flight feathers with a white band at tip. At rest this stain does not have a staggered appearance and the edge is rounded. Tail feathers grayish with many narrow bars and a more prominent white bar near the end. Female: 34 - 64 g. Similar to male but the throat is buff. Buff band in the outer flight feathers. Tail feathers without white band. Juveniles are similar to female but more grayish and primaries with pale brow edgings.

Similar Species

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) is larger, has wings and tail longer; at rest, wing-tips often project beyond tail, white band of wings often strongly staggered with sharply toothed distal edge; white band on outer flight feathers is more near of the base.

Detailed Description

Information needed. Contribute

Recommended Citation

Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/lesnig