Whippoorwill Facts

Whippoorwill Facts
Whippoorwill is medium-sized bird that belongs to the nightjar family. It can be found in North and Central America. Whippoorwill inhabits deciduous and evergreen forests. Habitat loss (due to intense deforestation), predation and lack of prey (due to excessive usage of pesticides) are the major threats for the survival of whippoorwills in the wild. Despite significant reduction in the number of whippoorwills in some areas, global population is still large and stable. Whippoorwill is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Whippoorwill Facts:
Whippoorwill can reach 8.7 to 10.6 inches in length and 1.5 to 2.4 ounces of weight.
Whippoorwill is covered with grayish, brown and black plumage. White (in males) or creamy-colored (in females) "necklace" can be seen on the black throat. Ventral side of the body is pale and covered with black and gray spots. Tail is white-tipped in males. Unusual coloration of the body provides excellent camouflage on the forest floor.
Whippoorwill has short bill, large eyes, short legs with small feet, long, narrow wings and long, rounded tail.
Whippoorwill has wingspan of 17.7 to 18.9 inches. It is proficient flier, characterized by erratic, moth-like pattern of flight.
Whippoorwill is active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular animal). It is active entire night during the full moon (when visibility is good).
Whippoorwill hunts and eats insects such as moths, stoneflies, click-beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, bees and ants.
Natural enemies of whippoorwills are coyotes, cats, dogs and owls.
Whippoorwills migrate toward the wintering grounds (tropical broadleaf forests) in Central America arranged in loose flocks.
Name "whippoorwill" refers to high-pitched, crying "whip-poor-will" calls, that can be heard during the breeding season. Whippoorwills can produce up to 1088 calls in a row.
Whippoorwills are often associated with tragic events in literature and folklore because of their unusual, prolonged, sad calls.
Mating season of whippoorwills takes place during the spring and summer.
Females lays 2 eggs on the leaf litter, bare ground or decaying logs. Eggs hatch after 19 to 21 days, 10 days before the full moon.
Laying of eggs is synchronized with lunar cycle, so that parents can hunt all night and collect large amount of food during the full moon. Young whippoorwills are ready to leave the nest 3 to 9 days after hatching. They learn to fly at the age of 20 to 21 days.
Both parents take care of their chicks. When they detect predators, parents use their feet to shove nestlings aside (chicks roll upside down and remain hidden in the leaf litter) or they fake wing injury to distract predators from the nest. 8 days after hatching, female usually leaves the nest to lay new set of eggs. Father continues to take care of the offspring until they become ready to fend for themselves.
Whippoorwill can survive around 4 years in the wild.

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