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Common Nighthawks are about 22 to 24 cm in length, have large mouths and eyes, and are well camouflaged being heavily patterned. Tails are slightly forked and wings are long and slender. Males have a white throat patch and tail band. Females do not have a tail band and are more buff-colored on the throat.
They are found across North America and south into South America. They range widely across many different habitats.