Eastern Whip-poor-will

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Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

 

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

 

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

Climate Endangered

Eastern Whip-poor-will

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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Focal Species
Laura Gooch/Flickr Creative Commons
Cool Facts

The whip-poor-will got its name from the male’s familiar call—a three-note series that sounds like it’s wailing, “whip poor will!”

It mostly relies on its vision when hunting insects; this is why it’s more active when the moon is out.

The Eastern and Mexican whip-poor-wills were once classified as a single species, but scientists separated them based on genetic analysis and physical differences.

Although no bigger than a robin, it can open its mouth wide enough to swallow insects up to 5 cm long.


By 2080, Audubon's climate model projects this species to lose 78 percent of breeding range and 55 percent of non-breeding range, with almost none of either season's range remaining stable. The bird’s numbers are currently in decline, largely due to the loss of the open-understory forests they depend on, and its fate may be tied to how climate change affects its already disappearing habitat.

Species Range Change from 2000 to 2080

The size of the circles roughly indicates the species’ range size in 2000 (left) and 2080 (right).

The amount of overlap between the 2000 circle and the 2080 circle indicates how stable the range will be geographically. Lots of overlap means the bird’s range doesn’t shift much. No overlap means the species will leave its current range entirely.

About This Bird

This elusive bird is a challenge to spot, even for the most seasoned ornithologists. Found in forests throughout the eastern half of the United States and southeastern Canada in the summer, it spends the winter from the southern United States south throughout Mexico and Central America. The Eastern Whip-poor-will is strictly nocturnal and stays hidden for the most of the day, only coming out in the evening to forage for insects. It’s most active in the dim light of dawn and dusk, but may continue foraging all night if the moon is bright enough. During the breeding season, it lays its eggs directly on the forest floor, where the parents take turns incubating them. Mostly a solitary creature, the bird spends most of its resting time perched motionless and alone in low-hanging branches.

Cool Facts

The whip-poor-will got its name from the male’s familiar call—a three-note series that sounds like it’s wailing, “whip poor will!”

It mostly relies on its vision when hunting insects; this is why it’s more active when the moon is out.

The Eastern and Mexican whip-poor-wills were once classified as a single species, but scientists separated them based on genetic analysis and physical differences.

Although no bigger than a robin, it can open its mouth wide enough to swallow insects up to 5 cm long.


Birds at Risk

Explore more birds threatened by climate change around the country.

Allen's Hummingbird
Baird's Sparrow
Bald Eagle
Brown Pelican
Burrowing Owl
Cerulean Warbler
Common Loon
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Golden Eagle
Greater Sage-Grouse
Hooded Oriole
Mississippi Kite
Northern Shoveler
Osprey
Piping Plover
Ruffed Grouse
Rufous Hummingbird
Spotted Owl
Tundra Swan
White-throated Sparrow
Yellow-billed Magpie