Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Whip-Poor-Will

Often heard but rarely seen, the whip-poor-will’s familiar call, which sounds just like its name, is a common part of summer evenings and mornings in much of the United States. Known as a type of nightjar bird, the whip-poor-will is 9-10 inches in length with an 18-19 inch wingspan and weighs about two ounces. Very well camouflaged, the whip-poor-will’s feathers are a mix of brown, black and grey that makes the bird seem to disappear into the forest when it sits still.
Besides its camouflage, another reason the whip-poor-will is rarely seen is because it is nocturnal. Primarily active at dawn and dusk, the whip-poor-will feeds by catching flying insects in mid-air. These birds migrate to the woods of Central America each winter and return to relatively open forests in the United States each spring to breed. During the day, they sleep motionless on the forest floor.

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