whippoorwill

/hwip"euhr wil', wip"-; hwip'euhr wil", wip'-/, n.
a nocturnal North American nightjar, Caprimulgus vociferus, having a variegated plumage of gray, black, white, and tawny.
[1700-10, Amer.; imit.]

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Species (Caprimulgus vociferus) of nocturnal North American bird, similar to the nightjar, named for its resonant "whip-poor-will" call (first and third syllables accented), which it may repeat 400 times without stopping.

It lives in woods near open country, where it catches insects on the wing around dusk and dawn. By day it sleeps on the forest floor or perches lengthwise on a branch. About 10 in. (25 cm) long, it has mottled brownish plumage; the male has a white collar and white tail corners. It winters as far south as Costa Rica.

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bird
      (Caprimulgus vociferus), nocturnal bird of North America belonging to the family Caprimulgidae (see caprimulgiform) and closely resembling the related common nightjar of Europe. It is named for its vigorous deliberate call (first and third syllables accented), which it may repeat 400 times without stopping. It lives in woods near open country, where it hawks for insects around dusk and dawn; by day it sleeps on the forest floor or perches lengthwise on a branch. About 24 centimetres (9 1/2 inches) long, it has mottled brownish plumage with, in the male, a white collar and white tail corners; the female's tail is plain and her collar is buffy.

      The whippoorwill breeds from southeastern Canada throughout the eastern U.S. and from the southwestern U.S. throughout Mexico, wintering as far south as Costa Rica. In the middle of its range it is often confused with the chuck-will's-widow and the poorwill.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • whippoorwill — [hwip′ər wil΄, wip′ər wil΄] n. pl. whippoorwills or whippoorwill [echoic of its cry] a dark, insect eating, nocturnal nightjar (Caprimulgus vociferus) of E North America …   English World dictionary

  • whippoorwill — 1709, imitative of its cry …   Etymology dictionary

  • whippoorwill — ► NOUN ▪ a North and Central American nightjar with a distinctive call. ORIGIN imitative of its call …   English terms dictionary

  • whippoorwill — [[t]wɪ̱pʊə(r)wɪl[/t]] whippoorwills N COUNT A whippoorwill is a North American bird that is active at night and has a call that sounds like whip poor will …   English dictionary

  • whippoorwill — noun a nocturnal insectivorous bird of North America, Caprimulgus vociferus, a type of nightjar, named after its characteristic call …   Wiktionary

  • whippoorwill —  North American bird, so named because of its call …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • whippoorwill — n. songbird that is native to North America and is known for its dark spotted plumage and unique song …   English contemporary dictionary

  • whippoorwill — [ wɪpəwɪl] noun a North and Central American nightjar with a distinctive call. [Caprimulgus vociferus.] Origin C18: imitative of its call …   English new terms dictionary

  • whippoorwill — noun (C) a small North American bird which makes a noise that sounds like its name …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • whippoorwill — whip·poor·will …   English syllables

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