Chuck-will’s-widow are not known to breed in New England, though they have been very rarely reported in Maine during the breeding season. These large, cryptic nightjars have similar habits to the Eastern Whip-poor-will (it also has an onomatopoeic song sung on moonlit nights) and thus can be found under similar conditions. These birds are also known to call at dusk and generally inhabit more open habitat than the Eastern Whip-poor-will. They are more tolerant of development and are associated with agricultural and even suburban areas so long as subtle roosting and nesting habitat (oak, pine, and mixed forest) is sufficient. Eggs are laid on the ground typically under dense cover. Chuck-will’s-widows are aggressive during the nesting phase and will pursue nest site predators or gape its large mouth while hissing.
Breeding Evidence: Hearing vocalizations of birds is the most
likely encounter with this species during the breeding season. All potential Chuck-will’s-widow breeding records should be carefully documented. If you hear one in appropriate breeding habitat, use code S. The simplest way to upgrade this to a “Probable Breeder” is to listen again at the same location 7 or more days later to upgrade the code to S7.