Uncommon throughout its large range, the Short-tailed Nighthawk forages over humid lowland forest at dawn and dusk. They frequent clearings and rivers, but stay close to mature forest. They appear remarkably bat-like in flight due to their erratic flight, short tail, and dark coloration. Unlike most other nighthawks, they completely lack any bold white markings in the wings and tail. They are also unique in being the only nightjar known to nest in trees; their nest consists of an egg laid in a natural depression on a large horizontal branch. Northern populations of the Short-tailed Nighthawk are believed to be resident, but the southern populations are migratory, and may occur as far north as Venezuela in the austral winter. The seasonal distributions of the various subspecies are not well known, however, especially in Amazonia. There also is geographic variation in the voice of Short-tailed Nighthawk, and further research may show that the Short-tailed Nighthawk contains two or more distinct species.