Caprimulgus carolinensis Gmelin, 1789, South Carolina. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Carolina chuck-will, chuck; French: Engoulevent de Caroline; German: Carolinanachtschwalbe; Spanish: Chotacabras de la Carolina.
11–23 in (28–33 cm); 3.3–5.2 (94–147 g). Brown, blackish brown, buffish white, and white cryptic coloration. Sexually dimorphic.
Breeds in eastern and southeastern USA; winters from Florida and West Indies through Central America to Colombia and northern Venezuela.
Woodland and forests. Often sits and calls at night from gravel roads.
Roosts during day; active mainly at dusk and before dawn. Song “chuck willow willah” is basis of English name, the initial “chuck” is often inaudible.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds mainly on insects caught on sallying flights from ground or perch. Occasionally recorded feeding on small birds.
Unlined nest on ground with clutch of two eggs that are cream with dark blotches and spots. Incubation by female for period of around 20 days. Small young are golden-brown, paler beneath. Young can fly when 16–17 days old.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Rarely noticed by humans, except for its distinctive nocturnal song.
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