New York Natural Heritage Program
Chuck-will's-widow
Antrostomus carolinensis (Gmelin, 1789)
Birds
Chuck-will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) Barry Cherriere
Family: Nighthawks, Nightjars, and Goatsuckers (Caprimulgidae)

State Protection: Protected Bird
Defined as a Protected Bird by New York State law. This species may not be hunted or taken at any time in New York.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.


State Rarity Rank: S1B
A State Rarity Rank of S1B means: Typically 5 or fewer breeding occurrences and very limited breeding acres, making it especially vulnerable in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


Did you know?
Chuck-will's-widows are noctural foragers with some unique feeding habits. They mostly consume insects out of the air by catching them with their whisker-like bristles, and scooping them into their bills. They have, on occasion, been observed to chase down a smaller bird or bat and swallow them whole, if the opprotunity presents itself!

State Ranking Justification [-]
The Chuck-will's-widow is at its northern range extent in New York and is a relatively recent addition to the state's avifauna with the first nest discovered in 1975. New York's population is restricted to pine and oak barrens, shrublands, maritime dunes, and barrier beaches on the southern half of Long Island and Staten Island (McGowan and Corwin 2008, NY Natural Heritage 2010). Global climate change is a threat to this species as the resulting sea-level rise and increased storm frequency is expected to reduce the availability of barrier beach habitat. Its coastal shrubland and oak-pine barren habitat are also under threat from increasing urbanization and fragmentation. The combination of factors including restricted habitat availability, occurring at the northern extent of its range, and pervasive threats, all may contribute to the recent decline and small population numbers in the state.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]