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Common Pauraque

This bird from the Nightjar family is present in Central America and South America.

With a range extending north from South America, the Common Paraque reaches the northern extent of its range in South Texas. It is non-migratory, unlike other North American nightjars. The plumage of Common Paraques offers excellent camouflage, and they typically remain motionless at the approach of a predator to avoid detection, only flushing at the last moment if it is required for escape.

Common Parauque eggs are rather brightly colored and would be obvious to predators, so parauques are careful to keep them incubated at all times. Heavy rains and fires from slash and burn agricultural practices destroy some nests.


Description of the Common Pauraque


The Common Pauraque is mostly patterned in cryptic brown with a long, rounded, grayish tail. It has a white throat and white patches near the outer edges of its wings.

White patches in tail feathers.

Common Pauraque


Very little white in tail feathers.

Seasonal change in appearance



Similar to adults.


Woodlands and open lowland areas.




Forages by flying from a perch to capture flying insects. Active early evening.


Occurs from south Texas south to South America.

Fun Facts

Common Pauraques seldom fly more than about 10 feet off the ground.

Common Pauraques are most active at dawn and dusk.


The song consists of a distinctive, hoarse whistle.


Similar Species

White wing bands and long tail distinguish it from the Common Poorwill, and the rounded shape of the tail distinguishes it from nighthawks.


The nest is merely eggs laid in dead leaves on the ground.

Number: 2.
Color: Buff or pinkish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging: 
– Young hatch at 19-20 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) at an unknown age after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.


Bent Life History of the Common Pauraque

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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