BioKIDS home

Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species

Local animals in this group:

nighthawks and nightjars


The nighthawks and nightjars is a large family of birds that are found throughout the world, with about 87 species. In North America six species in this family are called nighthawks. These are widespread and common birds, even in cities. Nightjars and nighthawks lay their eggs directly on the ground or on some other flat surface, so some species do well in cities, where they lay their eggs on the roofs of buildings. Members of this group have soft plumage (feathers) with brown patterns that resemble leaves or bark, this coloration helps to camouflage them during the day. All members of this group fly at dusk, at night, or in the early morning and catch insects in flight. One member of this group, the common poorwill, is the only bird species that is known to hibernate.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

BioKIDS home  |  Questions?  |  Animal Diversity Web  |  Cybertracker Tools

. "Caprimulgidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 17, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
Copyright © 2002-2024, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

University of Michigan