A nighthawk is a nocturnal bird of the subfamily Chordeilinae, within the nightjar family family, Caprimulgidae. Nighthawks are medium-sized New World birds, with long wings, short legs, and very short bills. They usually nest on the ground. They feed on flying insects.
The Nighthawk bird have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. Some species perch facing along a branch, rather than across it as birds usually do. This helps to conceal them during the day.
They are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed on moths and other large flying insects. The bill opens very wide, and has a slightly hooked upper tip.
Nighthawks are similar in most respects to the nightjars, but have shorter bills, and plumage that is less soft. Nighthawks are less strictly nocturnal than many nightjars, and may be seen hunting when there is still light in the sky.
Band-tailed Nighthawk, Nyctiprogne leucopyga
Plain-tailed Nighthawk, Nyctiprogne vielliardi - formerly in Chordeiles
Nacunda Nighthawk, Podager nacunda
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris
Short-tailed Nighthawk, Lurocalis semitorquatus
Antillean Nighthawk, Chordeiles gundlachii
Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
Least Nighthawk, Chordeiles pusillus
Sand-colored Nighthawk, Chordeiles rupestris