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"Wheepa-wheel" bird, not quite like Whip-poor-will, in Uvalde, TX (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Several birds heard at night, separate from each other, in a scrubby, brushy area with low trees. I thought maybe Whip-poor-will, but the calls Merlin has for those sound like "whip-poorwill, whip-POORWILL", and these birds are more like "wheepa-wheel" or "wheepa-wheeol". They sound close in tone, though, and with that hint of reediness, they seem similar. Is this a variant on a Whip-poor-will call, something related to them, or nothing like them at all?

 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Ah, that's it! Thank you. We were wondering what that was.

There were quite a lot of these around. I got a glimpse of something perched on a road that might have been one, before it flew away. One of the guides at the ranch there has actually caught one (or a Whip-poor-will) by hand! Apparently, if you shine a light on them while they're perched on the road, sometimes they freeze long enough to be approached.
 

KC Foggin

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I just spent some time googling and it sure sounds like a Chuck-will’s-Widow. I’ve never even heard of this bird!
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
There seem to be several Whip-poor-will-like birds named for their calls, though this one doesn't sound as much like its name as they do. In person, I couldn't really hear that first 'chip' noise that the calls online are showing off, especially in areas with multiple calling at once.

I think I may have seen one of these, in addition to hearing them. There was a shape on the road that I initially thought was an owl by the large head, but it wasn't quite right in the shape, and apparently sitting on roads at night is common for this whole group of birds.

It's funny; Merlin says these guys are found in areas of mixed pine and deciduous forests. I don't think there was a single pine tree on that entire ranch, or anywhere near it. Uvalde is not known for its pines. That's cowboy country, in a climate that well suits a lot of African savannah animals.
 

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