Bird Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Caprimulgus europaeus
European Nightjar


Distinguishing Features - Nightjars are nocturnal and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). The European Nightjar is just under 30 cm in length, with a wingspan of about 60 cm. They are more often heard than seen, and the bird'Ős remarkably camouflaged plumage of greys, browns and russets makes it almost invisible amongst the vegetation in which it hides during daylight hours.

European Nightjar Habitat

Nightjars are summer visitors to Europe, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. They arrive early May and are gone by October. Essentially heathland birds, they require low, sparse vegetation in which to nest. For feeding, they will travel a fair distance to preferred heathlands, deciduous or mixed woodlands, orchards, riparian and freshwater habitats, and gardens.


Primarily flying insects such as moths, beetles and flies caught at dusk and dawn.


Its churring song, similar to a cricket's, heard on warm summer evenings is one of the most evocative sounds of the countryside and can be heard up to two kilometres away on still nights.

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