Nightjars are a family of birds that forage for flying insects at night. The species nesting in Canada are migratory, with the Common Nighthawk, for example, being found as far south as Argentina during the non-breeding season. These beautifully marked birds have long pointed wings for sustained flight, and are highly camouflaged because they spend the day on a branch or on the ground.

The need to conduct surveys for nightjars in Canada has been identified for several reasons:

  1. Relatively little is known about them due to their nocturnal habits
  2. Two of our species, the Common Nighthawk and the Eastern Whip-poor-will, are already listed as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act
  3. Nightjars belong to a larger guild of birds, the aerial insectivores, which are thought to be declining across North America

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New Participants

The Canadian Nightjar Survey needs volunteer to conduct surveys to help us understand and conserve these unique species. To volunteer or to obtain more information about the Survey and available routes, contact the nation coordinator Andrew P. Coughlan at