common nighthawk, credit: SteveByland/ Essentials Collection/ Getty Images

Special Concern Provincially, Threatened Nationally


• Medium-sized bird, active at night or at twilight
• Well camouflaged; long wings with wide white stripe that can be seen when flying; short legs; short bill and wide mouth to catch insects on the wing
• Lays eggs on bare ground
• Inhabits wide variety of habitats with open or semi-open areas (farmland, open woodlands, rock outcrops, peat bogs, prairies, gravel pits and urban rooftops)


• In Canada, found in all provinces and territories except Nunavut
• Occurs throughout Ontario except for coastal regions of James Bay and Hudson Bay


• Insecticides (loss of insect prey)
• Habitat degradation
• Proliferation of nest predators (domestic cats, skunks, raccoons, crows)


• Federally protected under the Species at Risk Act, 2002 and under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994


From 1995 to 2005, the Breeding Bird Survey showed a 50 percent population decline of common nighthawk in Canada.