Although easy to hear, this bird, which is about the size of a robin, is very hard to see. Its barred brown plumage blends perfectly with the leaves. The whippoorwill prefers meadows near water and thick woods. It flies little except when searching out the beetles, moths and other insects that it likes. Then its flight is erratic. Its soft feathers make its flight soundless.
It builds no nest, simply laying its eggs in an unprotected depression in the leaves on the ground.
It is a member of the goatsucker family and is related to the nighthawk. It is common in the eastern United States. Similar birds, the chuckwill's widow, a larger bird, and poorwill, a smaller bird, are common in the South and
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