Any of several species of North and South American birds in the whippoorwill family (Caprimulgidae) that are buff, reddish, or grayish brown, usually with light spots or patches, and 6–14 in. (15–35 cm) long. They fly about at night, especially at evening and dawn, catching flying insects in their mouths. The common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor), or bullbat, inhabits most of North America, migrating to South America in winter. It is about 8–12 in. (20–30 cm) long and grayish brown, with a white throat and wing patches. It has a sharp nasal call. During courtship it dives swiftly, creating audible whirring sounds.