Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

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 (Least Concern). Generally common throughout North American breeding range, and apparently spreading N in some regions, with increases noted in... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). 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 15 November 2018).