Puerto Rican Nightjar

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Image:PuertoRicanNightjar.jpg

Common Name: Puerto Rican Nightjar
Scientific Name: Antrostomus noctitherus

Size: 8.7-8.8 inches (22-22.5 cm); Wingspan: 23.6-24.4 inches (60-62 cm)

Habitat: North America; it is endemic to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

It is typically found in semi-deciduous forest with hardwood trees and little or no ground vegetation, usually on dry, limestone soils. It has also been found in dry, open secondary growth areas with scrub, xeric or dry scrubland, open scrub forest, and forest with tangled, thorny undergrowth. It occasionally frequents plantations of Eucalyptus robusta. It avoids riparian forests, and is found in disturbed areas only where canopy is still intact. It is a lowland species, recorded from sea-level to 230 m.

Status: Endangered. Global population: 1,400 to 2,000 adult individuals with a decreasing population trend. The loss of habitat through deforestation is a possible reason for current, restricted range. Potential predators include feral cats and introduced mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus).

Diet: Nocturnal insects, including beetles, moths and other flying insects. They forage by making flycatching sallies from perches and hunt beneath tree canopies. Smaller prey items are probably consumed in flight, but larger insects are carried in the bill back to perch, where they are shaken and swallowed.

Nesting: Sexes are dimorphic, though not strongly so. Both sexes upper parts are grayish-brown, tinged rufous and streaked blackish-brown, broadly so on crown. There is an indistinct tawny-buff nuchal collar. The wing-coverts are grayish-brown, speckled and spotted buff, tawny and greyish-white, showing row of large blackish spots across upper fore-wing and along scapulars. There is a white or buffish-white band around lower throat. The under parts are brownish, heavily spotted gray-white and cinnamon feathers, becoming buff barred brown on belly and flanks. Both sexes lack white markings on wings which are found on many species of Nightjar. The male has broad white tips to three outermost tail feathers while the female has narrow, buffish tips. The iris is dark brown, the bill is black and the legs and feet blackish-brown. Immatures are paler than adults.

This nightjar breeds late from February to July and is apparently influenced by moon phase. This species has been known to double-brood and is highly territorial. The nest site is usually partly shaded, beneath scrub vegetation in woodland where canopy height is 4–6 m, or at base of small tree. They create a “Scrape” type nest with the eggs being laid on leaf litter on ground. The clutch is usually 1–2 eggs, which are elliptica and buffish-brown, blotched and spotted purple, with markings denser around blunt end. Incubation is performed by both sexes with the male incubating more than the female during day. The incubation period generally lasts 18–21 days. The eggs are hatched asynchronously. The chick is semi-precocial and is covered in reddish-buff or cinnamon down. The chicks are usually brooded by male and can fly short distances after 14 days.

Adults threatened at the nest site perform an injury-feigning distraction display.

Cool Facts: This species was thought to be long extinct until rediscovered in 1961.


Found in Songbird ReMix Frogmouths, Nightjars & Goatsuckers

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