What is a common Nighthawk sound like?

Answered by Willian Lymon

The sound of a Common Nighthawk is unique and distinctive. While flying, these birds emit a nasal peent or beer call. It is a short, sharp sound that is often repeated in a series. The peent call is high-pitched and somewhat mechanical in nature, resembling the sound of a car engine or a door hinge.

During courtship displays, male Common Nighthawks produce a croaking auk auk auk call. This call is lower in pitch and has a more guttural quality compared to the peent call. It is often described as a deep, resonant croak that carries through the air. The male repeats this call in a rhythmic pattern to attract a female and establish his territory.

When defending their nests, female Common Nighthawks give a hissing or throaty cluck. This call serves as a warning to potential threats, such as predators or intruders. The hiss is a sharp, forceful sound that can be quite startling. It is meant to deter any potential danger and protect the nesting site.

It is fascinating to observe and listen to these sounds in their natural habitat. I remember one evening while hiking in a remote area, I came across a pair of Common Nighthawks engaged in a courtship display. The male was perched on a branch, repeatedly calling out with its croaking auk auk auk sound. It echoed through the stillness of the evening, creating an eerie yet mesmerizing atmosphere.

The peent call of the Common Nighthawk is often heard during summer evenings as they fly overhead. It is a sound that evokes a sense of tranquility and reminds me of warm summer nights spent outdoors. I have spent countless hours lying on a blanket in a grassy field, gazing up at the darkening sky and listening to the repetitive peenting of these fascinating birds.

The Common Nighthawk produces several distinct sounds depending on the situation. While flying, they emit a nasal peent or beer call. During courtship displays, males give a croaking auk auk auk call, and females defend their nests with a hissing or throaty cluck. These sounds add to the unique charm and character of these nocturnal birds.