The Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) is also known as the Common Pauraque to distinguish it from similar species. It is a species of nightjar and the only bird in the genus Nyctidromus. It breeds in the warmer parts of the New World from southern Texas to northern Argentina. Most populations are resident, although the U.S. populations may winter in eastern Mexico. It is found in open woodland and grassland habitats, but also scrubland and crop fields.
This bird is 8.75 to 11 inches long when fully grown. It occurs in two color variations. The plumage is varied grayish-brown or reddish-brown. It has a long tail and broad rounded wings. The beige eye ring and facial stripe contrast with the reddish sides of the face. The adult male Pauraque has a white band near the wing tips, and the outer tail feathers are mainly white. The female’s wing band is narrower and the white in the outer tail is more restricted. There are seven races of Pauraque, differing in size and grayness.
This species is more terrestrial than most Nightjars. If disturbed, it will sometimes run rather than fly, and frequently rests on roads and tracks. In general it prefers mixed habitat which offers densely vegetated hiding places. The Pauraque is nocturnal, like other nightjars, and starts to fly at dusk. Like its relatives, it feeds on insects caught in flight, usually by flycatching from a low perch, but also by foraging over open ground.
The male Pauraque’s song is variable and includes a whistled weeeow wheeooo, soft puk puk and a whip given in the courtship flight as he flutters around the female. Her call is a rapid succession of whip sounds. The female lays two elongated and elliptical pinkish eggs are placed upon bare ground or on leaf litter. They are commonly eaten by small mammals, such as marmosets. These birds have benefited from limited deforestation. Logging creates areas of low and secondary growth, in which the birds are able to hunt more efficiently. It will abandon heavily wooded areas or clear-cut locales. It is vulnerable to predation by feral dogs and cats, and have disappeared from areas where these pests are abundant.