Do Birds Fly at Night?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 26, 2020 1:25:50 PM ET
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Nocturnal birds, such as owls and nighthawks, always fly at night, and some other species of birds, such as thrushes, vireos, nuthatches and many sparrows, fly at night during migration periods only. Most species of birds rest during the night.

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Truly nocturnal species of birds that fly, hunt, forage and raise their young during the night hours are rare. These are limited to owls, nighthawks, night-herons, frogmouths, kiwis and kakapos. Many other species of birds are diurnal, flying only during the day for most of the year, and then change to a night flying pattern during migration periods. Flying at night during migration protects birds from predators.