English and Scientific names:

Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis texensis)

Number of individuals: 

1 presumed ad. male

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

along LA-27 at First Bayou, ca. 1.5 mi. N of Holly Beach

Date(s) when observed:

22 November 2007

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~5:20 PM CST

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Justin Bosler

Other observers accompanying reporter who independently identified the bird(s):


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

At sunset w/ partly cloudy sky, less than ideal lighting w/ sun angle very low (not a factor in ID however).

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42 (excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

ca. 25 meters at closest point

Duration of observation:

~5 min.


coastal freshwater marsh

Behavior of bird: 

The nighthawk was flying and foraging throughout the duration of observation.



The nighthawk was flying in lazy circles over the marsh and roadway. In the waning light, the nighthawk appeared entirely buffy below w/ buffy undersides to the wings.  The wingtips were seemingly 'blunt-tipped' (p9 longer than p10), not long and pointed as in Common Nighthawk (CONI). In addition, the white primary patch was very close to the wingtip, not as far from the wingtip as in CONI.  A white throat and white subterminal tail band were evident, indicating an adult male bird. 



Similar species:

Common Nighthawk can be strikingly similar in plumage. However, LENI is usually more uniformly buffy below than CONI, especially on the underwing. CONI has proportionally longer, more pointed wingtips w/ the white patch on the primaries located further in on the extended wing.  LENI appears relatively longer tailed than CONI, although difficult to assess w/o side-by-side comparison.  Flight style of LENI appears less erratic than CONI and wing beats seem less exaggerated than CONI, as was observed on this particular bird.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Video by Devin Bosler, video images attached

Previous experience with this species: 

Very familiar with LENI from AZ, NM, and TX.

Identification aids:

at time of observation:  none

after observation:    National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005) and Sibley's Guide to Birds (Sibley 2003).

This description is written from: 

__Yes___ notes made during the observation

__Yes___notes made after the observation


Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, very confident.


Devin Bosler 

Date and time: 

22 December 2007; 10:00 PM EST