Eastern Whip-poor-will: Medium-sized nightjar with gray-brown-black mottled upperparts and pale gray-black underparts. Throat is black; eyebrows and neckband are white. Tail is long and rounded with large white corner patches. Until recently, this bird and the Mexican Whip-poor-will were combined as the Whip-poor-will.
Range and Habitat
Eastern Whip-poor-will: Breeds from Saskatchewan and Maritime Provinces south to Kansas, northern Louisiana, and northern Georgia, and in easternTexas. Spends winters in Florida and along the Gulf Coast southward to Panama. Prefers open woodlands with well-spaced trees.
The Eastern Whip-poor-will and Mexican Whip-poor-will were previously combined as one species, the Whip-poor-will.
Recent DNA sequencing, along with different ranges, egg colors, and vocalizations, enabled the split.
The record number of calls in a row by a single bird is 1,088, perhaps accounting for their species name, vociferous.
They fly around livestock at dusk to feed on insects swarming over the animals. It was once believed that they sucked milk from goats' udders and caused them to dry up; hence their family name, Caprimulgidae, from the Latin capri and mulgus, meaning "goat-milker."
A group of whip-poor-wills are collectively known as an "invisibility" and a "seek" of whip-poor-wills.
The Eastern Whip-poor-will is a medium nightjar native to North and Central America. Preferred breeding habitats include deciduous and mixed woodlands in southeastern Canada, southwestern and eastern United States, and Central America. Northern populations will migrate in winter months to the southeastern United States and Central America. This bird forages for food at night, and diets include insects caught in-flight. Nests are built on the ground under low trees and shrubs, and are very well camouflaged. The conservation rating for the Eastern Whip-poor-will is currently Least Concern, though it is at risk for decline due to habitat destruction.