618. European Nightjar.
Caprimulgus europoeus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 346 (1766) ; Hewitson, i. p. 270, pl. lxvi. ; Naum. vi. p. 141, Taf. 148 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 51 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 1 ; Newton, ii. p. 377 ; Dresser, iv p. 621, pl. 271 ; Hartert, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xvi. p. 526 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 187 ; Saunders, p. 267 ; Lilford, :i. p. 29, pl. 13 ; C. smithii, Bp. Consp, i. p. 59 (1850) ; C. unwini, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 406 ; Hartert, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xvi. p. 528 ; C. plumipes, Prjev. Mongol, i Strana Tangut. ii. p. 22 (1876), Hartert, tom. cit. p. 530.
Engoulevent ordinaire, French ; Noitibo, Portug. ; Papa-vientos, Span. ; Nottolone, Ital. ; Ziegenmelker, Tagschlafer, German ; Geitenmelker, Dutch ; Natteraon, Dan. and Norweg. ; Nattskarra, Swed. ; Kehraja, Finn. ; Kozodoy-polunotschnik, Russ.
Male ad. (Sweden). Upper parts dark ashy-grey pencilled, vermiculated and streaked with blackish brown and warm buff ; primaries blackish, marked with rufous on the outer web, the first three with a white spot near the end of the inner web ; tail with the two outer feathers on each side broadly terminated with white ; under parts greyish buff, narrowly barred with blackish brown, the abdomen and crissum orange buff ; on each side, of, and in the middle of the throat a white patch ; beak and iris black ; legs reddish brown. Gape 1.2 wing 7.8, tail 5.5, tarsus 0.8 inch. In the female the white spots on the wings and tail are replaced by dull orange buff, slightly marbled with brown.
Hab. Europe generally, as far north as Trondhjem in Norway, Gefle in Sweden, and Kuopio in Finland ; in winter migrating down to S. Africa ; Asia as far east as Lake Baikal in the north, and Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Mongolia in the south, visiting the Punjab, Sind, and occasionally the N.W. Provinces of India in winter.
During the day this species remains concealed in some shady place, if on a branch perched lengthways, and emerges when the shades of evening set in. It frequents open glades in the woodlands where it may be seen flying noiselessly round, hawking after winged insects. It feeds on moths, beetles, and insects of various kinds, which are chiefly captured on the wing. Its note when resting is a churring sound, and on the wing it utters a loud whistle and strikes the points of its wings together, producing a loud sound. It makes no nest, but in June deposits its two eggs in a slight hollow on the ground in the woods or on the open heath. These are elongated, tapering equally towards each end, in ground colour varying from nearly pure white to greyish or pale buffy white and are blotched, marbled and spotted with pale purplish or purplish grey underlying, and dark brown surface-markings, and in size average about 1.23 by 0.85.
West European specimens are as a rule darker, ana Asiatic ones (C. unwini and C. plumipes) are paler, but this difference is very variable, as I have seen European birds as pale and grey as others from Asia.
618. Caprimulgus europAeus
618. European Nightjar.