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The Common Pauraque is a distinctive nightjar of open woodland and scrub, including around human habitation. It is very long-tailed, with extensive white in the rectrices and bold white bands across the wings. The female has much more restricted white patches, but can still be identified by the long tail, well-defined ear patch, and lack of a nuchal collar. The distinctive call of the pauraque is a burry, rising-falling wheeeuu and is a characteristic sound of dusk and dawn in the Neotropics. This species is also commonly encountered on roads at night, when the light reflected by its eyes can be seen from some distance. From its perch on the ground, it can be observed sallying after flying insects low overhead. The Common Pauraque occurs from Texas south through Central and South America to northern Argentina.

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