English and Scientific names:

Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)

Number of individuals: 

one female

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

"Rutherford Woods" in Oak Grove, LA

Date(s) when observed:

October 17, 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  


Reporting observer and address:

Lainie LaHaye

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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

Paul Conover (found and identified the nighthawk) and Buford "Mac" Myers

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


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

good afternoon light. bird forelit.

Optical equipment: 

Nikon Monarch 8x42,good condition

Distance to bird(s): 

20-50 yards Bird was approx 50 yards away most of the time.

Duration of observation:

Scattered sightings for about 1.5 hours.


Bird was observed for about 20 minutes at a time when perched.Oak dominated woods with heavy understory. Surrounded by marsh to the south and pastureland to the north.

Behavior of bird: 

Bird was perched except when flushed. Glided from perch to perch with much flapping except when ascending. Bird seen well in flight from all angles. Flushed bird six times. Worked with it for quite a while to get definitive looks.


A nightjar with white 'nighthawk mark'. Overall color pale grayish-brown with few distinct markings.

Perched bird with primaries concealed

Throat appeared to have buffy ground color but was heavily mottled with darker brown. Thin line of pale buff along lower edge of auriculars.

Upperparts mottled with gray, brown and buff. Buff tips to mantle feathers formed a distinct V. Buff tips to wing coverts formed two weakly marked buff wingbars.

In flight, wings with 3-4 bands of pale buff spots proximal to a more distinct buffy-whitish band crossing the primaries. These rows of buff spots ran parallel to the wing band.

I didn't get a good look at the underparts or tail.


not heard

Similar species:

A nighthawk by white alula, wing band. Common Nighthawk eliminated by amount of buffy spots on primaries.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photos digiscoped by me.Used my Canon A10 Powershot and Paul Conover\'s Nikon Fieldscope III 20-60.

Previous experience with this species: 


Identification aids:

Paul Conover and Nat Geo Bird Guide

yesThis description is written from: 

Paul's long form

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



Date and time: 

December 1, 2009