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A true master of camouflage, this is the nocturnal nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), which is also called the nightjar. It is so well camouflaged that it is difficult to spot even during the day.

The nightjar prefers heathland and light forests. As a ground-nesting bird, it needs open areas of ground. Its plumage, which is reminiscent of leaves and tree bark, helps to hide the nest. With its large eyes that capture the remaining light, it is very well adapted to the night.
Its beak looks tiny, but that's deceptive, because it's actually a huge throat, a net for catching insects. Favorite food: moths.

At dusk and dawn, it gives itself away with its unusual song: a continuous, deep humming purr. Occasionally, you can also hear calls and the clapping of its wings.

Nighttime song of the nightjar



Extra information: In the Swiss Alps, researchers investigated the possible reasons for the disappearance of the nightjar in various areas. They suspect that the limiting factor is not food availability, but light pollution, which is between 2 and 5 times higher in areas abandoned by the nightjar. (Sierro A., Erhardt A., Light pollution hampers recolonization of revitalised European Nightjar habitats in the Valais (Swiss Alps), Journal of Ornithology, Volume 160, pp. 749 – 761, 2019)

The name comes from the superstition that the nightjar sucks the udders of goats at night. A story that was circulated by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century AD.

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Tourist Info in NaturparkhouseTiergarten Schloss Raesfeld
Tiergarten 1
46348 Raesfeld
Phone: 02865 – 609110