Upland Ground

Common Poorwill

Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
Common Poorwill thumbnail
Length: 8 in. (20 cm )
Nocturnal and shy, this bird is much more often heard than seen. It can be found regularly sitting in the middle of a lonely gravel road where it will fly up in the headlights of a vehicle like a huge moth. Apparently it spends much of the winter in northern parts of its range in a state of torpor or hibernation concealed in rock piles. It catches insects at night in its gaping mouth by flying low over the desert floor. Its nest is a shallow depression on the ground, usually near a steep hill.

The four-digit banding code is COPO.

Male | Herbert Clarke



Bird Sound Type: Buzzing
Sex of Bird: Male
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Bird Sound Type: Buzzing
Sex of Bird: Male
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View Citation

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Common Poorwill
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: July 13, 2017
  • Date accessed: April 13, 2024
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/common-poorwill

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2017, July 13). Common Poorwill. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/common-poorwill

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Common Poorwill". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 July, 2017. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/common-poorwill

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Common Poorwill". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 Jul 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 13 Apr 2024. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/common-poorwill

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
A swallowtail caterpillar
Is there anything in nature that get smaller as it thrives?

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