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Puerto Rican Nightjar - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Maryarena
Guanica State Forest, Puerto Rico, 05, December, 2012
Antrostomus noctitherus


Previously known as Puerto Rican Whip-poor-will. Small, around 22 cm. It is patterned grey, brown and black. The male has a white throat band and its outer tail feathers are white. The females have less white and their throats are buff.

Its call is a Whip-poor-will. For a European birder, the "whip" sound reminds of a sound that the female European Nightjar makes; the Puerto Rican Nightjar normally repeats this "whip" 2-15 times in a series. Vocal season is from late in one year to July or even August in the following year, with less chances of observing the bird in the remainder of the year.

Similar species

Mainly Antillean Nighthawk, in migration possibly Common Nighthawk, and in winter Chuck-will's-widow.


Puerto Rico along the southern coast with the highest density in the dry south west area. Historically also along the northern coast.


This monotypic species seems closely related to the Whip-poor-will.
It was formerly placed in the genus Caprimulgus.


Mainly in dry to semidry forest, including both semi-deciduous and evergreen forest types. Recent studies have found the species up to the edge of the rainforest of Maricao, but utilizing the driest forest sections at that elevation. The specimen bones from caves and one old specimen from the karst forest indicates a wider distribution in the past; they may have been driven out of those regions by the introduced mongoose. The highest population density is found in the Guanica protected forest.


Feeds for insects low, below or just above the canopy which in the preferred habitat is maximally 7-10 meters above ground. Nesting is on the ground, normally in dense leaf litter. The majority of nesting attempts happen April to June; 1-2 eggs per litter.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Neotropical birds online

External Links

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