Nighthawks are birds of the nightjar family in the New World subfamily Chordeilinae. They are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground and catch flying insects. The Least Nighthawk, at 16 cm (6.3 inches) and 23 grams, is the smallest of all Caprimulgiformes. Nightjars are sometimes referred to as goatsuckers from the mistaken belief that they suck milk from goats (the Latin for goatsucker is Caprimulgus).
Edward Howe Forbush Useful Birds and Their Protection (Boston, MA: Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, 1907)