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Common name European nightjar
Scientific name Caprimulgus europaeus
Type Farmland birds
Status Migrator

Medium-sized bird (about 28 cm or 11 in), smaller than the Red-Necked Nightjar and with a more greyish colouration. Grey plumage with ocher, white and black spots. Males with white spots on the wings and throat. In flight, a "V" shaped wing aspect can be seen.



Where it lives

Species linked to open areas with scattered trees, meadow-type formations or edges of hardwood forests or pine forests. Also in non-intensive agricultural areas, plains, steppes and bushes. Always in elevated areas, above 1,000 meters above sea level.

How it lives

Summer bird in Malaga, also present during its migratory passages. Night and twilight habits. It breeds between June and August. Nest on the ground. One annual laying of 2 to 3 eggs. It feeds on flying insects that it catches in the air with its huge open bill, in a similar manner to that of swifts. During the day very terrestrial habits, hidden in the ground completely lying down, motionless and camouflaged thanks to its plumage.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

In Malaga it can be watched as a breeder in high and open areas of the Serranía de Ronda and Sierra de las Nieves. It is probably also present in the high areas of Sierra Tejeda. During the migratory passages, especially the autumnal ones, it can be seen in the littoral zone (beaches and mouth of the Guadalhorce). During the months of October and November it is frequently detected in migration in gardens of inhabited areas such as the Park of Malaga.

Curious facts

The call of the nightjar is very characteristic and easy to hear in the right areas, even at a great distance. It sounds like a very fine and sharp purr of an engine. It also makes a very typical noise when clicking the wings. If you want to listen to this bird, nothing better than a sunset trip up the Fuenfría or the Pilones lane in Sierra de las Nieves.

Similar birds
Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration