Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Near Threatened

Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus)


French: Engoulevent bois-pourri German: Schwarzkehl-Nachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras cuerporruín norteño
Other common names: Whip-poor-will (when lumped with A. arizonae)

Caprimulgus vociferus

A. Wilson

, 1812,

Pennsylvania, USA


Formerly considered conspecific with A. noctitherus, and until recently also with A. arizonae. Monotypic.


SC & SE Canada and EC & E USA; winters from SE USA through Mexico to N Central America.

Descriptive notes

22–27 cm; male 43–63·7 g, female 44·5–61·2 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upper­parts greyish brown streaked blackish brown, broadly so on... read more


Song of male is a whistled “whip, pr-will” or “whip, pr-weeea”, last note... read more


All types of forest and open woodland, especially of oak or mixed pine and oak, but also accepts a... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on moths, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, mosquitoes, caddisflies, ­locusts, ants and possibly worms. Volume of insect species... read more


Generally breeds May–Jul, but begins late Apr in Ohio and Maryland; breeding often synchronized with moon phases. Often double-... read more


Migratory, arriving on S breeding grounds by late Mar (exceptionally early Mar) and on N by mid May... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Recently uplisted from Least Concern. Generally common to locally abundant throughout much of range, though... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus). 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 20 January 2019).