Mght Hawk, a North American goatsucker of the subfamily caprimulgincn and genus chiordeiles (Swains.). In the C. Virginianus (Swains.) the length is 9½ in., and the extent of wings about 23½; the bill is very small and curved, with a wide gape furnished with a few very short hairs, and the tip hooked; the wings very long and pointed, the second quill the longest; the tail long, broad, and forked; tarsi short and partly feathered, and toes feeble; the head large and flat, the eyes and ears large, neck short, and body slender; the plumage is soft and blended. The male is greenish black above, slightly mottled on the head and back; wing coverts varied with grayish, and the scapulars with yellowish rufous; a white V-shaped mark on the throat, and terminal patch on the tail; a collar of pale rufous blotches, and grayish mottled on the breast; under parts transversely banded with rufous white and brown; quills brown; five outer primaries with a white blotch midway between the tip and carpal joint; the female has not the white patch on the tail, and that on the throat is mixed with reddish. The common name of this bird is ill chosen, as it is not a hawk, nor does it tly by night; in cloudy weather it Hies all day, and its favorite time is from an hour before sunset to dark.
It is distributed over North America, appearing in Louisiana on the way to the north and east about April 1, in the middle states about May 1, in Maine about June, going even into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and returning to the south in autumn. The flight is rapid, light, and capable of long continuance. From the small size and backward position of the legs, it can hardly walk, or stand erect. It breeds from South Carolina to Maine; in the middle states it deposits two freckled eggs about May 20, on the bare ground, without any nest; both sexes assist in incubation, and the female adopts various devices to distract attention from her eggs or young. The food consists of insects, especially beetles, moths, caterpillars, crickets, and grasshoppers; it drinks while flying low over the water, in the manner of swallows. The flesh is esteemed as food when they return from the north in autumn, as it is then fat and juicy. It is the G. popetue of Baird. Other species are described.
Night Hawk (Chordeiles Virginianus).