Illustration from Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia/Corbis
Chordeiles minor hesperis
Subspecies of Common Nighthawk
June 30, 1805, at Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana.
Mottled brownish black. Long notched or square-tipped tail and long pointed wings with broad white wing bar. Male has white throat patch and white subterminal tail bar. Female has buff throat patch and no tail bar. Flight high and fluttery. Length: 10 in (25 cm).
A loud nasal call, peent or pee-yah, heard primarily at dusk.
Open woodlands, clearings, or fields; towns with roosting trees or fence posts.
Breeds from central Canada southward to Nova Scotia and through most of United States. Winters in tropics.
This bird's name is somewhat inappropriate, since it is not strictly nocturnal, often flying in sunlight, and it is not a hawk, although it does hawk, catching flying insects on the wing.