Chuck-will’s-widow – Accepted

1. 16 Oct 1986

HY male

Half Moon Bay SM



ph., CAS 83955, Bailey (1989b)

2. 04 Jan 1989

SY male

vic. Loleta HUM



ph., HSU 7749







CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW Caprimulgus carolinensis Gmelin, 1789

Accepted: 2 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: yes

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This nightjar breeds in the East, no closer to California than Oklahoma and central Texas. The northern breeding limit reaches from southern Iowa to southeastern Massachusetts, with sporadic records from extreme southern Ontario. As is typical of temperate-breeding nightjars, the birds move to tropical and subtropical climes in fall and winter—in this case, to southern Florida (and rarely elsewhere along the Gulf coast), the Caribbean south to the northern Lesser Antilles, and from southeastern Mexico south to Colombia. Wanderers have reached southern Nevada, eastern New Mexico, South Dakota, Minnesota, southern Quebec, Newfoundland, the Netherlands Antilles, and Venezuela.

California’s first Chuck-will’s-widow was a first-fall male that died at a rehabilitation facility after being found injured on 16 October 1986 at Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County (Bailey 1989b). The state’s second, found on 4 January 1989, was a first-winter male freshly killed along a road north of Loleta, Humboldt County (Harris and Hawkins 1990). See also Appendix H. Given this species’ wide breeding range and highly migratory nature, the small number of records for California and elsewhere in the West presumably reflects, to some degree, detection difficulties stemming from its nocturnal habits and cryptic plumage.