Nightjar by Martin Sutton 1/4
Nightjar by Martin Sutton 2/4
Nightjar by Andrew Ramsey 3/4
Nightjar by Barry Madden 4/4

Nightjar Caprimulgas europaeus

This summer visitor is largely nocturnal and roosts in well-camouflaged cover in the daytime. The characteristically unusual flight patterns and the bright white spots on the male are helpful features when identifying this bird.

Conservation status

Habitat destruction led to a major decline in the nightjar population after the Second World War. More enlightened management of forestry plantations and our remaining heathlands has enabled a steady rise in numbers. The latest national survey conducted in 2003 by the British Trust for Ornithology revealed a UK population of 4,500 males representing a 34% increase on numbers recorded in 1992. In Norfolk 314 males were recorded representing a 41% increase over the same period. Well over 60% of recorded males came from the Breckland region.

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Did you know?

Nightjars used to be called Goatsuckers as people used to believe they stole the milk from goats, the scientific name reflects this myth. In Norfolk the bird used to be called Dorhawk after its habit of feeding on cockchafers (the Norfolk name for the insect being dor beetle).

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