Common Pauraque

Nyctidromus albicollis

Order

CAPRIMULGIFORMES

Family

Nighthawks and Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Code 4

COPA

Code 6

NYCALB

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Pauraque is nocturnal, like all nightjars. This species breeds in the warmer climates of North America, from southern Texas to northern Argentina. Most of the populations of the Common Pauraque are residents, but some in the United States will migrate to Mexico in winter months. The preferred habitat of this species includes open wooded or grasslands, scrubs and crops. They also like to have dense foliage available for hiding space, and require access to rivers and wetlands for hunting. The Common Pauraque hunts at night for flying insects, and does not build a nest. The conservation rating for the Common Pauraque is Least Concern.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Pauraque: Medium nightjar with dark-streaked, mottled gray upperparts, white throat, black chin, rufous face, pale gray-brown underparts. Wings have brown and black bars, white band at base of primaries visible in flight. The gray tail is long, with dark edges and white patches.


Range and Habitat

Common Pauraque: South of Texas Common Paraques are residents, in the lowlands of both coasts of Mexico and Central America and in South America south to Peru in the west and northwest Argentina in the east. Breeding range extends from southern Texas to the lower Paraná River region. Most are all-year residents. Found in semi-open scrub country with thickets and woodland clearings.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"puc, puc, puc, puc p'weeEER", "wheet wheet wheeeer"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Central Americans know the “white-necked night-runner” as “Don Pucuyo” or “Cabellero de la Noche” (“Gentleman of the Night”)—names reflecting its association with love and presumed amorous influence over young women.
  • In hot weather, they often open their mouths wide and vibrate the throat area, a behavior known as gular-fluttering. Like panting, it’s a thermoregulation behavior that helps to cool the body by increasing the rate of evaporation through the mouth.
  • It has rictal bristles, which are modified feathers resembling stiff hairs alongside its mouth. Highly tactile and controlled by specialized muscles, they are thought to aid in night feeding, and protect the bird’s eyes from flailing insect legs and wings.
  • The genus and species names reflect the Common Pauraque’s appearance and behavior. Nyctidromus means “night-runner,” in reference to the bird’s nocturnal, low-to-the-ground foraging. The species name, albicollis, describes the white, bib-like splotch on the pauraque’s throat.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Pauraque

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
GapeX
Also called commissure, it is the hinge where the mandibles meet.
Rictal bristlesX
The short and stiff feathers near the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X