European nightjar Facts

European nightjar Facts
European nightjar is medium-sized bird that belongs to the nightjar family. There are 6 subspecies of European nightjars that can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa. European nightjar inhabits heathlands, broadleaf and coniferous forests, sparsely vegetated areas, mountainous grasslands and wetlands. Habitat loss (due to construction of roads and human settlements), lack of prey and excessive usage of pesticides are major threats for the survival of European nightjars in the wild. Despite these factors, global population of European nightjars is still large and widespread. These birds are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting European nightjar Facts:
European nightjar can reach 9.6 to 11 inches in length and 1.8 to 3.4 ounces of weight. Females are slightly larger than males.
European nightjar is covered with grey, brown and reddish plumage which easily blends with bark on the trees and provides excellent camouflage during the day (when bird lays motionless on the branches). Males can be recognized by white wing patch.
European nightjar has flat, wide head, small bill and large eyes. It has long, slender body, short legs, long, narrow wings and long tail.
European nightjar uses finely serrated middle claw to preen its feathers.
European nightjar is an agile flyer. It has buoyant, but noiseless flight, that consists of rapid twists and turns.
European nightjar is active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular) and during the night (nocturnal animal).
European nightjar is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on insects such as moth, crane flies and dor beetles.
Natural enemies of European nightjars are snakes, owls and red foxes.
European nightjars migrate toward the wintering grounds in Africa at the end of summer.
Males produce harsh, jarring calls (hence the name nightjar), better known as "churring" calls, that consist of 1.900 notes per minute. These loud calls are designed to attract females during the breeding season.
Mating season of European nightjars takes place from May to August. Formed couples mate for a lifetime (monogamous birds) and produce one or two broods per season.
Male flies in circle around female, spreads its tail and flaps its wings during the courtship. European nightjars nest on the ground.
Female lays 1 to 3 (usually 2) eggs in the shallow depression in the ground. Eggs hatch after 17 to 18 days. Male also takes part in the incubation of eggs, but only during a short period of time.
Both parents collect food (insects arranged in the small balls) and take care of their chicks. Young birds learn to fly at the age of 16 to 17 days. They are ready for the independent life at the age of 32 days. European nightjars reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 year.
European nightjar can survive around 12 years in the wild (4 years is an average lifespan).

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