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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)

Species Code: CHMI

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

This species occurred in open areas at low and moderate elevations throughout the state. They were common in eastern Washington, typically occupying shrub-steppe, grassland, and agricultural lands. They were less common above the steppe zones, but this species did occur as a breeder in open, shrubby areas of conifer forests at low and moderate elevations, especially along river valleys. In western Washington, Common Nighthawks were peripherally found in open areas and along river valleys. Apparently, they are declining throughout the state.

On the east side, good habitats in the core areas of use were all habitats except mid- to high-density development in steppe zones, and nonforested and agricultural habitats in forested zones below the Subalpine Fir zone. Forested habitats in forested zones were included contingent on the availability of suitable microhabitats.

On the west side, good habitats in the core areas of use were all nonforested, fresh water/wetland, and agricultural habitats except development, below the Silver Fir zone. Forested habitats in these zones were included, contingent on the availability of suitable microbabitats.

Two subspecies breed in Washington, C. m. hesperis of eastern Washington and C. m. minor of western Washington. This species is declining in western Washington. Formerly, they were found in urban areas along the Puget Trough. In 1902 they were considered abundant in the Seattle area, and in 1908 they were reported as common around Bellingham. However, current data contain very few records of Common Nighthawks within the Puget Trough, especially from urban areas, where they used to nest on flat gravel roofs. One hypothesis is that Common Nighthawks face nest-site competition from Glaucous-winged Gulls which will occupy similar sites in cities. Common Nighthawks nested at the University of Washington campus as late as 1975. On the Olympic Peninsula and throughout southwestern Washington, the predicted distribution is based on the opinion of local experts, due to the paucity of data. This species formerly nested at Ocean Shores, but is now a rare visitor. In eastern King County, nighthawks also nest sparingly in mid- to high-elevation clearcuts where there is much bare, rocky ground and before new vegetation growth is more than two to three feet high.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester