Common Poor-will

From SongbirdReMixWiki

Revision as of 22:29, 7 December 2015 by WikiSysop (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Image:CommonPoorwill.jpg

Common Name: Common Poor-will
Scientific Name: Phalaenoptilus nuttallii

Size: 7-8.3 inches (18-21 cm); Wingspan: 18-20 inches (45-50 cm)

Habitat: North America; from British Columbia and southeastern Alberta, through the western United States to northern Mexico. Many northern birds migrate to winter within the breeding range in central and western Mexico, though some remain further north.

They typically prefer arid or semi-arid country such as deserts, gravelly plains, open prairie, grassy hillsides, rocky terrain with scattered vegetation or dry brush, rocky canyons and chaparral. They are also found in open woodland, and clearings in pine or fir forest, generally between 500 m and 1000 m

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown amount of adult individuals with a increasing population trend. In Canada, while not listed by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, it is red-listed by British Columbia Ministry of the Environment. Eggs and young probably taken by predators such as birds of prey, crows and ravens (Corvus), coyotes (Canis latrans), foxes (Canidae), badgers (Taxidea taxus), skunks (Mustelidae) and snakes (e.g. Crotalus viridis or Pituophis melanoleucus). Adults may be taken by birds of prey such as Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) or Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).

Diet: Nocturnal insects; such as moths, beetles, and grasshoppers. It ejects pellets of the indigestible parts, in the manner of an owl.

The common poor-will frequently takes prey off of the ground or by leaping into the air from the ground.

Nesting: Sexes are dimorphic, although only marginally so. The upper parts are grayish brown or grayish white, speckled and barred brown, boldly spotted blackish brown on crown. There is no nuchal collar. The wing-coverts are pale gray-brown, streaked and barred with blackish brown, and creme tipped. The scapulars pale gray-buff or gray-white with broad, almost star-shaped, blackish-brown centers. The sides of crown are often thinly edged white. There is a black mask with a thin white (on males) or buff (on females) submoustachial stripe. The chin and throat are dark brown and the sides of lower throat are white. The rest of under parts are generally pale gray-brown or buff, barred with brown. Both sexes lack white markings on wings but have all but central pair of tail feathers narrowly tipped white, more boldly so in male.The iris is dark brown. The bill is black and the legs and feet are brown. Immatures are similar to the adult. Juveniles are dull buff-white speckled with gray and lacking the black-brown spotting on crown. They have buff (not white) patches on sides of lower throat and less distinct black-brown markings than the adults, especially on underparts.

The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground, often at the base of a hill and frequently shaded partly by a bush or clump of grass. The clutch size is typically two, and the eggs are white to creamy, or pale pink, sometimes with darker mottling. Both sexes incubate for 20–21 days to hatching, with another 20–23 days to fledging. There is usually one brood per year, but females may sometimes lay and incubate a second clutch within 100 m of the first nest while the male feeds young at the first site. The young are semiprecocial. An adult disturbed on the nest tumbles and opens its mouth, hissing, apparently imitating a snake.

Cool Facts: The common poor-will is the only bird known to go into torpor for extended periods (weeks to months). This happens on the southern edge of its range in the United States, where it spends much of the winter inactive, concealed in piles of rocks. This behavior has been reported in California and New Mexico. Such an extended period of torpor is close to a state of hibernation, not known among other birds.

Song of male is a melodious, whistled “poor-will-low” lasting about 5 seconds.

There are six subspecies of Common Poor-will:

  • P. n. nutalli, first reported by Audubon in 1844. The nominate race breeds over most of the North American range.
  • P. n. californicus, first reported by Ridgway in 1887. It is found in the Southwestern United States (Western California) and extreme Northwestern Mexico (Northwestern Baja California). Known as the “dusky poor-will”, it is darker and browner than the nominate race.
  • P. n. hueyi, first reported by Dickey in 1928. It is found in Southeastern California, Southwestern Arizona and Northwestern Mexico (Northeatern Baja California and Northwestern Sonora). Known as the “desert poor-will”, it is paler than the nominate race.
  • P. n. dickeyi, first reported by Grinnell in 1928. It is found in Central & Southern Baja California. Known as the “San Ignacio poor-will”, it is smaller and less heavily marked than P. n. californicus.
  • P. n. adustus, first reported by van Rossem in 1941. It is found in the Southern United States (extreme South Arizona) Southward to Northwestern Mexico (Sonora). Known as the “Sonoran poor-will”, it is paler and browner than the nominate race.
  • P. n. centralis, first reported by R. T. Moore in 1947. It is found in Central Mexico from Southern Durango southward to Northeastern Jalisco and Guanajuato.


Found in Songbird ReMix Frogmouths, Nightjars & Goatsuckers

Personal tools