The Whip-poor-will is heard more often than seen, as it chants
it's whip-poor-will in rapid succession, often for long periods of
time. During daylight hours, they sleep motionless on the forest floor,
and can be very difficult to spot because of their mottled camouflaged
feathering. Probably the easiest way to spot a bird in the daytime is
if the nest is approached too closely, which often prompts the parent to hover
in place while investigating the intruder. There are slight but distinct
differences in plumage and voice between eastern and western populations in
North America, and there is some who classify the two as different species.
deciduous to mixed forests.
Diet: Insects, primarily night-flying insects.
Behavior: Nocturnal forager, although much of its
foraging is done near dawn and dusk, or under the light of a nearly full
moon. Captures insects by flying out from a perch and snagging them in
mid-air, or by catching insects while in continuous flight.
Nesting: May and June
Song: A loud rolling whip-poor-will,
repeated rapidly, sometimes for long periods of time . Click
to listen to the Whip-poor-will song.
Migration: Summers throughout most of the eastern
U.S., extreme southeastern Canada, and locally in the Southwestern U.S.
Winters in the extreme southeastern U.S., Mexico, and Central America.
Conservation Status: Has declined in number in the eastern
United States in the past few decades, for reasons that aren't well
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Whip-poor-will"
Photo Information: Color pencil drawing by Terry
Sohl - January 2012