Common Pauraque

Nyctidromus albicollis
Range Map

The Common Pauraque lives along the Pacific and Gulf coasts of mainland Mexico, and south through much of northern South America. Only in south Texas will you find these birds in the USA. These birds remain on their territory all year and do not migrate.

Their piercing cries heard at night are unforgettable once you’ve heard them. During daylight hours, these birds will roost under low-hanging branches among leaf litter, and rely on their cryptic feathering for camouflage. It is surprisingly effective. While visiting Estero Llano Grande State Park in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Texas), I met these birds roosting in leaf litter under some trees. So well camouflaged they were, had it not been for the kindness of strangers pointing them out, I’d have passed by only eight feet from them without notice.

Today, science recognises six subspecies of Common Pauraque:

  • N. a. merrilli lives in the lower Rio Grande Valley and the southern Gulf Coast of Texas south to central Tamaulipas.
  • N. a. yucatanensis lives in Sinaloa south along the Pacific coast and southern Tamaulipas south along the Gulf Coast, including on the Yucatan Peninsula, to Central America.
  • N. a. insularis lives in on Tres Marías Island off Sinaloa (Mexico).
  • N. a. albicollis lives in Guatemala and Honduras south to Peru and northern Brazil, and on Trinidad.
  • N. a. gilvus lives in Panama and in northern Colombia.
  • N. a. derbyanus lives in central Brazil, south to eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern Argentina.

Click map markers to reveal further information