Common Poorwill
(Phalaenoptilus nuttallii)


Picture of bird
© Dick Cannings
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the Common Poorwill occurs in low numbers in the southern interior of British Columbia, and in the Cypress Hills region of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Data are insufficient to determine its population status at this time. The species was classified by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as "Data Deficient" in 1993 and there have been no updates since that time. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Canada< 5,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Although several species of aerial-foraging insectivores have shown widespread declines in Canada (Nebel et al. 2010), insufficient data are available to determine whether the Common Poorwill is also affected or whether any conservation action is required. The species appears to be susceptible to car strikes while foraging along roadsides (Woods et al. 2005). The British Columbia Poorwill Survey, a local version of the United States Nightjar Survey, will provide useful information that may help determine population trends in the future.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region