Considered a rather aloof species, catching sight of the migratory Whip-poor-will is pretty lucky. Though its appearance is owl-like, the Whip-poor-will is actually from the Caprimulgidae family or nightjars. Nightjars are commonly medium-sized nocturnal or crepuscular birds with long wings, short legs and very short bill.
Whip-poor-wills have mottled grayish-brown plumage that resembles the coloring of the dead leaves it prefers to nest in on the open forest floor. Males are distinguished by their black throats separated from the breast by a neckband of white and white outer tail feathers. Females are thinner, with a more buff-colored neckband and lack the white on their rounded tail.
During the summer months, Whip-poor-wills will head to eastern and southwestern Unites States to breed. Mates are found by its somewhat sad and seemingly endless call. As it is named onomatopoeically - meaning its name imitates or describes the call it makes, the bird's call is easy to catch. Not to mention that it is one of the few birds in Indiana that is active at night. So in tune is the Whip-poor-will with the lunar cycle that it will lay its creamy white eggs so they will hatch about 10 days before a full moon. Ads aerial hunters who catch their insect prey in flight, this allows the adults to forage the entire night and aptly provide for their nestlings. Their erratic and mothlike flight is a spectacular sight if you are so lucky to catch the Whip-poor-will in action.
Information found at WhatBird.com.February 20, 2013