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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Chordeiles minor

Common Name:
Common Nighthawk

Family:
Caprimulgidae

Localities:
Great Falls, Montana   June 30, 1805

Goatsuckers--bats with feathered wings

Lewis takes this moment to give a lesson on members of the nightjar family.  These ground-nesting birds all have short beaks, wide mouths, and mottled gray and brown feathers, which conceal them so well.  Lewis would have been familiar with a few species of the family from his Virginian upbringing, and he would have heard the unmistakable songs of the whip-poor-will and Chuck-will's-widow in the eastern forests, and the common nighthawk around more open country.  Crossing the prairie in the presence of tens of thousands of bison, the men of the Corps often complained about the formidable numbers of mosquitoes and the insect bites they endured day after day--a perfect supply of food for the common nighthawk.



Journal Entries:

Cptn. Lewis, June 30, 1805--There are a number of large bat or goatsucker here I killed one of them and found that there was no ...  more>>

Sound
Sound    common nighthawk (0:00, 116 kb)
Credit: Wind Cave National Park
 

See following caption
Common nighthawk, male, collected May 30, 1939.

See following caption
Common nighthawk, male, collected May 30, 1939.

See following caption
Common nighthawk, male, collected May 30, 1939.

See following caption
Common nighthawk, male, collected May 30, 1939.

See following caption
Common nighthawk, male, collected May 30, 1939.


 
 
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