British wildlife recordings
Caprimulgus europaeus : European Nightjar - Caprimulgidae
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Frensham Great Pond, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(484500,140500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
Advertising and flight calls produced by a male nightjar on Frensham Common, Surrey. Nightjars begin arriving throughout much of Britain during April, having spent the winter months in Africa. The appearance of these nocturnal birds can be described as somewhere between a kestrel and a cuckoo, with their long tails, brown mottled plumage and sharp features. They require bare ground on which to nest and so are commonly found on heathland, moors, large commons and open woodland. The flight call consists of a loud ‘coo-ick’, while the undulating churring song is best heard at dusk during the summer months. Loss of suitable habitat has resulted in nightjars becoming increasingly rare and at present they are considered a Red List species.