Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Near Threatened

Chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis)


French: Engoulevent de Caroline German: Carolinanachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras de la Carolina

Caprimulgus carolinensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

South Carolina, USA


Possibly close to A. rufus, with which has even been considered conspecific, but differs notably in both voice and morphology. Monotypic.


SE Canada (locally in extreme S Ontario) and E USA from SE Iowa, Indiana and Long I (New York) S to E Texas and S Florida, as well as N Bahamas#R. Winters from S USA (SE Texas and Louisiana) S through Central America to N South America; and from C Florida S through Bahamas to Greater Antilles, and E to Virgin Is.

Descriptive notes

27–34 cm; male 94–137 g, female 114–120 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upperparts brown, broadly streaked blackish brown, with narrow and indistinct tawny-buff... read more


Song of male is a loud, repetitive “chuk, weeo, weeo”; song variable and may be faster... read more


Generally deciduous wood and forest, mixed woodland of pines and oaks, and wooded oak groves; also... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on moths, flying ants, cicadas, crickets, grasshoppers, damselflies, dragonflies, beetles (including Carabidae, Cerambycidae,... read more


Breeds mid Apr to Jul, commencing early Mar in S of range, mid May in N. Usually single-brooded. Territorial. Nest-site usually in open... read more


Migratory, males generally moving before females. Begins arriving in N parts of range by mid-late... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Recently uplisted from Least Concern. Generally common throughout North American breeding range, and apparently... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).