Floridata Article

Chuck-Will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis)


This relative of the whip-poor-will often nests on the ground in scrub. Chucks swoop for flying insects at night and, with their excellent camouflage, hide during the day. They sometimes rest on dirt roads after dark, startling drivers with their reflective red eyes. The persistently repeated four-syllable "chuck wills WID o, chuck wills WID o" is a familiar summer night sound throughout the rural southeastern US, but you have to be close to hear the first syllable. (The smaller whip-poor-will is absent from the southeast in summer, but sometimes sings its faster tempo 3-syllable "WHIP poor WILL, WHIP poor WILL" before migrating north in April and May.)

Chucks don't build a real nest. Instead they lay their two eggs directly on the ground. If the eggs are disturbed, the mother carries them in her mouth to another location. This tiny nestling, discovered in a central Florida scrub, awaits the return of its mother.

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