European Nightjar | Caprimulgus europaeus

Roberts Birding Information: European Nightjar

The European Nightjar is a Southern African bird that belongs to the caprimulgidae bird family group which includes birds such as Nightjars.

The description for the European Nightjar (Latin name Caprimulgus europaeus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Caprimulgus europaeus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 404 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 273. You will find a picture of the European Nightjar on page 209.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the European Nightjar between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The European Nightjar is known in Afrikaans as Europese Naguil.

The European Nightjar has a height of 27 cms and weighs around 67 gms. The head is coloured grey, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Caprimulgus europaeus has a black coloured throat, brown legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Caprimulgus europaeus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey, brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is black.

Legs are brown.

Throat is black.

Back is black.

European Nightjar Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The European Nightjar is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage

The Caprimulgus europaeus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

European Nightjar Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The European Nightjar is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 2 eggs and they are coloured pink.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The European Nightjar is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The European Nightjar is normally seen in pairs, singly or small flocks.