Photo competition answers – 1. Goatsucker but which one?


When we stated this competition we though it would be easy to identify the animals of Nairobi Park. Well it isn’t. Most people got the answer right that the bird above is a Nightjar or Goatsucker. These are medium-sized nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk)  birds and have long wings, short legs and very short bills.

They are also called goatsuckers from the mistaken belief that they suck milk from goats – indeed their Latin name comes from Caprimulgus meaning goatsucker.  Some species are also called nighthawks. Nightjars are found around the world and several species are found in Nairobi Park. The verdict is still out on whether this is a dusky, montane or an overwintering European nightjar. Here’s why we can’t tell

European Nightjar

Somber Nightjar

Dusky Nightjar

Montane Nightjar

So, which one do you think it is?

Nightjars are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed predominantly on moths and other large flying insects. They usually nest on the ground and their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves.

Nightjars lay one or two patterned eggs directly onto bare ground and some believe that they will move their eggs and chicks in the event of danger by carrying them in their mouths though there is no scientific evidence to support this.

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