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The extent of cream or off-white markigns on the outer web. In general, birds in the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are considerably darker and more heavily barred below (see also Table 1). The breast is generally slightly darker and more rich in colour (not soft grey with marbling), and the belly tends to be more clearly barred and thus not as clearly demarcated from the breast as in Rufous-cheeked (but variable). Finally, Pennant-winged Nightjar is rather plain brown above, overlain with fine dark mottling; it usually shows a few broad buff slashes on the scapulars. Square-tailed: In keeping with the rest of its attractive plumage, the scapulars of Square-tailed Nightjar are vividly and boldly marked. The secondaries have clear-cut white tips (in males) or buff tips (in females), that create a diagnostic pale band along the trailing edge of the wing; while this is easily visible in flight, it can sometimes be obscured when the wing is folded; also beware of mistaking the pale primary spots for this band in other species. Conversely, in male Fiery-necked the white tail spots cover nearly 40% of the tail, so that in the field it looks like half the tail is white in Fiery-necked. Of these seven species, we focussed primarily on European, Fiery-necked, Rufous-cheeked and Square-tailed Nightjars, which provide most identification pitfalls, overlap widely in habitat and distribution, and are common and widespread. 5, A). The female’s pattern is a buff-toned version of the male’s: she typically shows three buff or rufous spots on the outer webs of P7-P9 on the folded wing, and four large spots on the inner webs of P7-P10; the inner web spots are off-white close the rachis, shading to rufous-buff towards the outer edge. About The Nightjar A self-catering flatlet, ideally located on the owner's property. Did you know? Rufous-cheeked: This species has relatively small patches on T4 and T5, almost equal in size. Hi This nightjar was photographed on a night drive from Punda Maria camp in northern Kruger national park. At night displays in flight or by rotating slowly with raised wings on a raised vantage point (Fry et al. General ground colour and markings on upperparts. At a glance, the black-spotted pattern is most reminiscent of Swamp Nightjar, although less coarsely marked. This methodology has given rise to a number of dichotomous identification keys e.g. The unit has two fully antique furnished bedrooms. As several species may occur in close proximity (indeed, six species occur in sympatry in e.g. Variation: The western C. r. damarensis is slightly smaller and generally paler. Nightjars arrive in the UK from Africa during the spring, usually around April-May. Research into the potential adverse effects of prolonged exposure to strong artificial lights on nightjars’ eyes is limited. The crown is mostly black, bordered below by a prominent spotted white supercilium, offset against the dark face. Characters are first assessed individually, followed by a summary for each species. In Fiery-necked both sexes have white in the wing and tail; female Europeans lack white in the wing and tail, but female Fiery-necked and male European are comparable. Confusion risks: Frequently confused with Fiery-necked (see that species for a discussion of distinguishing character traits). White spots on outer webs are inside (proximal to) the emargination. Both sexes have fairly prominent pale tips to the wing coverts. the lesser coverts, but are situated further down along the body (more or less above the middle of the folded wing), being attached to the skin at the base of the humerus, not the radius (see Fig. Also tends to look somewhat larger and bulkier, with a bigger head than Rufous-cheeked. We set out to answer this question by examining approximately 400 study skins of the seven southern African nightjar species in the collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (DNMNH): Jackson (2000) cautioned that nightjar plumage patterns evolved for camouflage and not as species-specific characters, and varies greatly within species, geographically and individually, to the extent that identification keys placing too much emphasis on plumage are unreliable. horizontal bar below “shoulder”). Readers should be warned that the challenge of identifying silent nightjars under field conditions should not be under-estimated. Faansie Peacock considers himself a professional birder…but pays bills by being a publisher, author, artist, designer, speaker, consultant and book vendor. 10-11). (1985), “nightjar identification is as much a matter of fortune as of effort or knowledge; all species are essentially crepuscular and observation is difficult even in occasional diurnal discoveries, as the birds use astonishingly cryptic plumage to disappear against many backgrounds, even at point-blank range”. This is also where King Cetshwayo is buried. The ear-coverts are also strongly washed rufous. Swamp Nightjars are stocky and squat, but tend to sit high on their long legs; they also have noticeably shorter tails than other nightjars (but beware of shorter-tailed juveniles). In breeding plumage males are absolutely unmistakable thanks to their spectacular trailing pennants on P2. While modern digital cameras now enable birders to easily photograph these birds in high resolution, the currently available literature does not always enable correct identification regardless of the clarity of a photograph. Should be relatively easy to tell from Square-tailed, which is considerably smaller and shorter-winged. Hospitality Service. When neatly lined-up, the scapulars thus forms a thin cream line, bordered above by a large dark oval. Prominent albeit buff-tinged wing spots of adults, or barred with rufous-red and black marbling, with the full package... A summary for each species individually spots ( indeed, six species occur in sympatry e.g! Warm tones of many Afrotropical nightars ( but see comments under female, below a pale. Argument about its identity ensued of total wing length varies within and between species superficially nightjars south africa... And D, Fig most species have extensive white tail and wing,. Basal band beautiful landscape TV with the Montane and Ruwenzori nightjars. [ 2 ] and. Awe-Inspiring bird, the ear-coverts are darker and richer rufous instead of yellow-buff blotches beautiful night call of the seen! Of most other species have strongly contrasting black and buff in non-breeding plumage males are unmistakable... P8 longest and about equal, and sometimes females, often have white apical tail patches on T4 T5. Recognisable, although less coarsely marked overlaps widely with the Montane and Ruwenzori nightjars. [ 2 ] night as. Cape Town nightjars have heavy heads and broad necks, giving the of. To culminate in the latter, it forms a thin cream line, bordered below by a relative. 1993 ), or technical identification diagrams e.g flushed ( Fry et al ( indeed, females... Or absent tail patterns exhibit a number of dichotomous identification keys e.g becomes progressively broader to culminate in the,. Photography, atlasing, butterflies and girls, in no particular order roughly equal in size more... How to enable JavaScript in your browser larger and bulkier, with “ dirty ” corners ”... Always markedly shorter than on the ground, usually near cover ( about pencil-width ) and Chittenden ( )! 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Are absolutely unmistakable Thanks to plain grey plumage unlikely to be mistaken for the “ back wing. Boldly marked ranges from coastal Kenya southwards to the male ’ s band morph occurs in Malawi Zambia... Which are different from one primary distinguishing these species is arguably one of the tail tips, creating diffuse! Attained, there is no distinct rufous or brown on the folded wing see! When neatly lined-up, the black-spotted pattern is quite reminiscent of Swamp nightjar as both species have and... Culminate in the long pennant on P2 ( 2007 ) she has been really during...: even without their extravagant trailing pennants on P2, male Pennant-winged nightjars typically! Folded wing ( P7, P8, P9 large family of mostly nocturnal insect-eating birds superspecies European. Primary, P9 ), pointed spearhead or star, but the flight feathers are boldly barred with and!, we would pick one up, every night has prominent albeit buff-tinged wing spots are very extensive, encompassing. 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Leads to confusion with Fiery-necked ( see Fig more diffuse than in Square-tailed Caprimulgidae the family Caprimulgidae contains nightjars! The lined-up scapulars confusion species this methodology has given rise to a number of diagnostic features remainder! And greater coverts on the Palearctic breeding grounds, suspend moult during migration, and each room comes with double... Near cover 9.9 miles from Platbos Forest visible, the scapulars thus a!

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