Caprimulgus

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Caprimulgus
Caprimulgus macrurus.jpg
Large-tailed nightjar
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Caprimulgiformes
Family: Caprimulgidae
Genus: Caprimulgus
Linnaeus, 1758
Species

40, see text.

Synonyms

Stenopsis

Caprimulgus is a large and very widespread genus of nightjars, medium-sized nocturnal birds with long pointed wings, short legs and short bills. Caprimulgus is derived from the Latin capra, "nanny goat", and mulgere, "to milk", referring to an old myth that nightjars suck milk from goats.[1] The common name "nightjar", first recorded in 1630, refers to the nocturnal habits of the bird, the second part of the name deriving from the distinctive churring song.[2]

Caprimulgus nightjars are found around the world, and like other nightjars they usually nest on the ground. They are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed predominantly on moths and other large flying insects.

Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. Some species, unusually for birds, perch along a branch, rather than across it, which helps to conceal them during the day. Temperate species are strongly migratory, wintering in the tropics.

Caprimulgus species have relatively long bills and rictal bristles. Many have repetitive and often mechanical songs.

Species[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  2. ^ "Nightjar". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)