Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Gary Lingle, The Platte River Whooping Crane Trust

Copyright 1983, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The Chuck-will's widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) is considered a highly local but regular migrant and presumed summer resident in Nebraska. Although it is known to breed in Kansas and Oklahoma, there were no nest records for Nebraska (Johnsgard, 1980). Egg dates for Kansas range from 21 April to 31 May (Johnsgard, 1979). On4June 1983 a Chuck-will's widow's nest with 2 eggs was discovered in a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) - red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) woodland at Camp Merrill, Saunders Co. (Sec 29 T17N RSW), approximately 6 miles southeast of Linwood (Janett Waever, pers. comm.) The "nest" was located on the ground about 6 ft. from a footpath. A few fallen oak leaves and bedstraw (Galium sp.) made up the meager ground cover. On 11 June, 1 of the eggs hatched. The adult female, hatchling, and nest were photographed. The remaining egg hatched on 12 June. The chicks were observed again on 18 June, approximately 10 ft. from the footpath, and by 26 June were absent from the nest site. The incubation period for this species is 20 days, beginning with the first egg (Johnsgard, 1979). This would mean that the approximate laying date for this clutch was 22 May. Both Whip-poor- will (Caprimulgus vociferus) and Chuck-will's widow have been heard regularly in this area since at least 1978 (Janett Weaver, pers. comm.). This represents the first documented nest record in Nebraska.