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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Lesser Nighthawk -- Chordeiles acutipennis


RANGE: Breeds from central interior California, southern Nevada, extreme southwestern Utah, central Arizona, central New Mexico, and central and southeastern Texas south to South America. Winters from Mexico south to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits bare or somewhat brushy country in low deserts of the Southwest. Occurs around dry fields, dry washes and riverbeds, sandy flats, and broad, rocky, sparsely vegetated valleys.

NEST: Generally lays eggs on bare ground in open sandy or gravelly areas but also in brushy areas, lowlands, hills, canyons, and dry rocky slopes and mesas, or on flat gravel and asphalt roofs.

FOOD: Favors areas with concentrations of flying insects, near trees and brush along springs and streams; catches a variety of insects in flight, including winged ants, mosquitoes, June bugs, beetles, moths, and grasshoppers.

REFERENCES: Bent 1940b, Harrison 1979, Oberholser 1974a, Terres 1980.


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