Eastern Whip-poor-will

Antrostomus vociferus




Goatsuckers (Caprimulgidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White marked with gray, brown, olive and lavender.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

19 - 20

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.


Most migrate



Eastern Whip-poor-will: Medium-sized nightjar with gray-brown-black mottled upperparts and pale gray-black underparts. Throat is black; eyebrows and neckband are white. Tail is long and rounded with large white corner patches. Female has pale brown neckband and tail patches.

Range and Habitat

Eastern Whip-poor-will: This species breeds in central and eastern North America from central Saskatchewan and Maritime Provinces south to Oklahoma, and northern Mississippi to northern Georgia. Spends winters in Florida and along the Gulf Coast southward to Panama. Prefers open woodlands with well-spaced trees.

Breeding and Nesting

Eastern Whip-poor-will: Two gray-and-brown scrawled, white eggs are laid in a shallow depression among dead leaves, often in younger growth near a woodland edge. Incubation ranges from 19 to 20 days and is carried out by the female. Eggs are laid so they hatch about 10 days before a full moon. This allows the adults to forage the entire night, and so best provide the nestlings with insects.

Foraging and Feeding

Eastern Whip-poor-will: Feeds on flying insects, usually at night, finding prey by sight and sound. Small bill opens into a huge, gaping maw when it flies after prey. Foraging results in erratic flight that includes wheeling, circling, gliding, and hovering.


Eastern Whip-poor-will: Sings its name "WHIP-poor-WEEA." Also makes "cluck" notes.

Similar Species

Eastern Whip-poor-will: Chuck-will's-widow is larger, has more pointed wings, and is more rufous overall.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X