Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Strigiformes / Caprimulgidae / Caprimulgus / Species
Caprimulgus europaeus - Eurasian nightjar (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Nightjar.
  • European nightjar.
  • Common nightjar.
  • Nachtzwaluw (Holland).
  • Engoulevent d'Europe (France).
  • Ziegenmelker (Germany).
  • Succiacapre (Italy).
  • Chotacabras (Spain).
  • Nattskärra (Sweden).

(B19, B162)

Names for newly-hatched

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Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B89, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Swallows, Swifts, Nightjars.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

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Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:
  • General: 26-28cm (B162); 24-28cm (B164); 27cm (B165); 25-28cm / 9.5-11 ins. (B166)

Tail-length:

  • General: 10-11cm. (B162)

Wingspan:

  • General: 57-64cm (B162); 52-59cm. (B164)

Winglength:

  • General: 184-208mm. (B162)
Adult weight General 65-100g. (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Very small, black. (B162, B164, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Black. B162, B164, B165, B166()
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Bill Very small, black. (B162, B164, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B164, B166)

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Legs

Adult Male Short; buff coloured. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile --

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Upperparts: Brown with black and tan spotting; shoulder brown; rump brown.
  • Head: Crown grey; nape grey; moustache (line under eye) white.
  • Underparts: Buff and brown barring; throat buff and brown barring; white patches on sides.
  • Wings: Buff and brown barring with white spots; upper wing coverts creamy-tan band.
  • Tail: Short and square; upper and under buff and brown barring with white patches on corners.

(B162, B164, B166)

Variations (If present) Female:
  • Head: moustache (line under eye) white, not as strongly marked as male.
  • Underparts: Buff and brown barring; throat buff and brown barring; tan patches on sides.
  • Wings: Buff and brown barring.
  • Tail: Upper and under buff and brown barring.

(B162, B164, B166)

Juvenile
  • Wings: Buff and brown barring.
  • Tail: Upper and under buff and brown barring.

(B162, B164, B166)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi-precocial; mobile, downy, eyes open, remains in nest. (B163)

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • May to July (B166)
No. of Clutches 1-2. (B162, B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Solitary nesting.
  • Shallow scrape on ground.
  • Unlined.
  • Found both in the open and screened by vegetation.

(B162, B163)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 2. (B162, B163, B166)
Range 2-3. (B162, B163)
Egg description: Smooth, fairly glossy narrow elliptical, 32mm long; off-white to cream coloured, with irregular spots and blotches of yellow-brown, dark brown and grey; well camouflaged.

(B162, B163)

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Incubation

17-18 days (B162); 17-19 days (B163); 18 days. (B166)

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Hatching

Asynchronous. (B163)

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Fledging

16-17 days (B162, B163); 16-18 days. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Night feeder; prey taken in flight. May also fly from perch to catch prey. (B162, B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by parents (B162, B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building No nest built. (B162, B163)
Incubation By both parents. (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by both parents. (B163)
Juveniles

Dependant on parents for about 2 weeks after fledging. (B163)

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Loose aggregations occur at good feeding sites.
  • Territorial during breeding season.

(B162)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous pair-bond, usually for entire breeding season.
  • May change partners for second brood.
  • Courtship display includes slow 'butterfly' flight, wing claps, and gliding with tail fanned and wings raised.

(B162)

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Predation in Wild

Displays to lure predators away from nest site. (B163)

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Activity Patterns

  • Takes of and lands on vegetation or on ground.

(B166)

Circadian Nocturnal. (B163)

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Moths and other insects.
  • Beetles.

(B162, B163)

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Newly-hatched

Insects. (B163)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Scattered breeding populations in Europe, found throughout Former Soviet Union, northern China, Iran and north-west Himalayas.

Britain: Summer visitor, rare in Scotland and Ireland.

Migration:

  • Winters in Africa, south of the Sahara desert.

(B162, B163)

Occasional and Accidental Iceland, Faeroes, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands. (B162)
Introduced

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Habitat

  • Woodland with large glades.
  • Open heath with scrub.
  • Semi-desert and steppe land.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Clinal variation of size and colour.
  • Caprimulgus europaeus meridionalis; (North Africa, Greece and Turkey); Small sized birds.
  • Caprimulgus europaeus unwini; (eastern Iraq and further east); Small sized birds.

(B162)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Widespread decline in range and numbers, especially in north-west Europe. (B162)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Habitat loss, pesticides, human interference. (B162)

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Captive Populations

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Trade

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