Can Anyone ID This Bird?

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ElPaso2008
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Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by ElPaso2008 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:03 pm

These little guys are all over the place up at the north end of the Hueco Tanks development. I just can't seem to find it, or at least a picture of it that I recognize anywhere. Thanks in advance.
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Jerry Feldner
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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by Jerry Feldner » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:32 am

Yep. There was a discussion here recently on these. It is a member of the Family Caprimulgidae which means "Goat sucker." If it was in the Hueco Tanks, it was doubtless a Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis. They are quite nocturnal insectivores. When they fly, they open their mouths and a series of spiny feathers encircle the open mouth. They just aim at flying insects and their speed and the open mouth sweeps the insect in and down the gullet. You can learn more on page 504 of the "Audubon Society Field Guide to American Birds" (Western Region), Alfred A. Knopf, publ. You can learn more about the family Caprimulgidae on page 794. Picture is number 504. On the same page, you can see pics of close relatives such as the Poorwills and Whipoorwills.
These are birds with a poor thermal system and they can often be seen sitting on the pavement in the deserts to warm up for the night's hunting.

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ElPaso2008
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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by ElPaso2008 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:43 am

Jerry Feldner wrote:Yep. There was a discussion here recently on these. It is a member of the Family Caprimulgidae which means "Goat sucker." If it was in the Hueco Tanks, it was doubtless a Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis. They are quite nocturnal insectivores. When they fly, they open their mouths and a series of spiny feathers encircle the open mouth. They just aim at flying insects and their speed and the open mouth sweeps the insect in and down the gullet. You can learn more on page 504 of the "Audubon Society Field Guide to American Birds" (Western Region), Alfred A. Knopf, publ. You can learn more about the family Caprimulgidae on page 794. Picture is number 504. On the same page, you can see pics of close relatives such as the Poorwills and Whipoorwills.
These are birds with a poor thermal system and they can often be seen sitting on the pavement in the deserts to warm up for the night's hunting.
Thanks, Jerry. I will do my home work tonight after work. Around here, they are mostly found in the northern part of the development away from any houses. As you can see this one is on a fence post, and towards sundown in the past few weeks you can see lots of them along that trail, each sitting on it's own post. As you drive by they take flight but come right back to a different fence post behind or in front of you. You can see others flying strange zig-zag patterns out in the desert, no doubt doing what you describe. The cream colored strip running through the dark brown feathers on the underside of the wings makes them a pretty sight.

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Apache Devil
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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by Apache Devil » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:21 pm

I love nighthawks. Some of the people around my place who only see them swooping about at night, think they are bats. They are amazed when I explain that it is a bird.

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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by Desert Cruiser » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:18 pm

Maybe Jerry could tell us the difference between your Nighthawk and this one: It was seen Just South of Martinez Lake in Arizona East of the Colorado River. They blend in so well during the day when they're resting it's hard to get a good photo of them. This one has a pronounced white collar on the front of his neck.

Image

Don....

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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by reptilist » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:44 pm

I'll look it up in my Nat Geo bird book after I get home...I'm brushing up on birding and plant life identifying. :)
Don, I'd say that yours is the Common Poorwill...Based largely on the range map....Both sexes have the white throat.

Or it is a male Nighthawk. Among the Lesser Nighthawks and Common Nighthawks the males have the white throat, but in juveniles and females it is buff colored. Common Nighthawks do not range down to Martinez lake, but Lesser Nighthawks will visit during breeding season.

El Paso's bird appears to be a juvenile. I don't see any distinct throat marking, neither buff nor white.

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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by mlv » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:30 am

I've seen them in flight, and they have white stripes on their wings I believe...thats about the only way I can identify them in flight.

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Re: Can Anyone ID This Bird?

Post by Desert Cruiser » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:31 am

When in flight they fly like a falcon and have a wing shape like a falcon. And yes they have the white bar. They come out here just at dusk with the bats. We've run into them in the desert during the day; always sitting like the one I photographed above. They probably sleep during the day.

The one el paso put in here does look like it might be a juvenile now that you mention it. Sometimes juveniles are hard to identify. At least for me.

Don....

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