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Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Aripo Livestock Station, Trinidad

June 19, 2012

Common Pauraque

Nancy took this picture while on a night excursion, on a trip led by Brian Rapoza for the Tropical Audubon Society to Trinidad and Tobago.

This is a common tropical nightjar. In the United States, they are only found in the very southern part of Texas, but from there its range extends down both coast of Mexico, through Central America, and as far into South America (east of the Andes) as southern Brazil. They are widespread in semi-open areas in low woodlands, scrublands, and grasslands.

The common pauraque is a medium-sized nightjar (about 9 - 11 inches long) with a long tail. They have longer legs than most nightjars and can run with surprising speed for short distances. As a nightjar, they are nocturnal, feeding on flying insects, mostly beetles, especially at dawn and dusk. They don't build nests; they lay their two eggs on dead leaves on the ground, in fairly open woods, often at the base of a shrub.

Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens set at 400mm. Off-camera flash was used. Camera was on f/8 for 1/500 sec at ISO 800. Exposure was increased 3 stops in post-processing.

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