1092. Caprimulgus europaeus.
The European Nightjar.
Caprimulgus europaeus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 346 (1766); Blanf. Bast. Pers. ii, p. 127; id. Ibis, 1877, p. 250; Scully, J. A. S. B. lvi, pt. 2, p. 79.
Caprimulgus unwini, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 406; id. S. F. iii, p. 407; iv, p. 501; id. Cat. no. 111 his; Cock & Marsh. S. F. i, p. 350; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 175; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 372 ; Barnes, S. F. ix, pp. 215, 453; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 48; 1882, p. 270; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 428 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 90; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 156; Oates in Hume's N. & F. 2nd ed. iii, p. 47; Hartert (C. europaei subsp.), Cat. B. M. xvi, p. 528.
Coloration. Male. Upper surface greyish brown, paler and greyer in Eastern specimens ; long black spots in the middle of the crown and shaft-stripes on the back and rump; some elongate black spots with buff or whitish borders on the scapulars and buffy-white patches on the wing-coverts; a few buff streaks on the sides of the neck ; first three quills each with a large rounded white spot beyond the middle ; tail-feathers with ill-marked blackish cross-bars, the two outer pairs with white ends ; a large white patch on the throat; chin, throat, and breast greyish brown mottled ; lower breast, abdomen, and under tail-coverts buff with dark bars, which become more distant posteriorly and sometimes disappear on the under tail-coverts.
The female wants the white spots on the outer rectrices, and those on the quills are buff or wanting.
Bill and irides black; legs reddish brown.
Length about 10 ; tail 5; wing 7; tarsus, about three-fourths feathered in front, .7.
Distribution. A migratory bird, passing the summer and breeding in temperate parts of Europe and Asia, and wintering in Africa and South-western Asia. In winter this Nightjar visits the Punjab, Sind, and occasionally part of the N.W. Provinces, there being an immature specimen in the Hume collection from Etawah ; in summer it breeds in Kashmir, Gilgit, Afghanistan, Persia, &c.
The Eastern form of this Nightjar, C. univini, which occurs in India, is slightly paler and greyer and a little smaller than the ordinary European bird, whilst the Western European variety found in England is darker. If, as usually happens, the extreme forms are compared, there is a considerable difference, but many Eastern European skins are nearly as pale as C. univini.
Habits, &c. Those of the genus. The eggs, usually two in number, are laid in May or June, and have been taken in the former month by Colonel Marshall at Murree. They are glossy, white, greyish white, or buff, blotched or marbled with pale purplish grey, spotted on the surface with pale sepia-brown, and they measure about 1.22 by .85. They are laid in a small hollow on the bare ground. The note of this species is a whirring sound.