The Chuck-wills widow is a 12” bird with soft, dark, cryptically patterned feathers, similar to plumage of owls. The bird is active at night, feeding on insects and occasionally on small amphibians. The ground nesting Chuck-wills widow occupies pine forest habitats, preferably in clearings, such as burned or thinned areas. Invisible to most predators, this bird is more often identified by their calls, the four-syllable “chuck-will’-wid’-ow.”
Evidence from national Breeding Bird Surveys suggest that this species is declining throughout their breeding range. James River National Wildlife Refuge population has been increasing since habitat management activities have been employed.