This bird’s trilling twilight call is a familiar spring and summer sound of the desert. It often congregates at water sources morning and evening, rarely active during midday. It is the only breeding nighthawk across most of the extreme southwestern United States lowlands, but limited overlap with the common presents an identification challenge. Polytypic (7 ssp.; texensis in North America). Length 8–9.2".
Generally dark gray to brownish gray above mottled with black, grayish white, or buff; crown and upper back darkest, paler markings more concentrated on upperwing coverts, scapulars, tertials. Secondaries and primaries dark brownish gray, secondaries and basal portions of primaries spotted with buff. Underparts generally buffy, finely barred dark brown; chest and malar area darker and grayer with