Another busy week, so no time yet to finish any new articles, sorry. The photo here – kindly supplied by Mary Blanchard – depicts the little-known Collared nightjar Caprimulgus enarratus, a Madagascan endemic associated with humid evergreen forest and primary lowland forest (though it has also recently been reported from mangroves and brush forest). Its broad rufous collar is distinctive, and it is easily distinguished from the paler, more streaky-patterned Madagascar nightjar C. madagascariensis (these two are the only nightjars on Madagascar). The cryptic patterning deserves no comment, other than this one, and note the chick (this adult had two, as is typical for the species). Adults apparently sit tight when brooding or guarding young, but if approached too closely will gape and hiss, lift the wings, and eventually perform an injury-feigning display. This sort of thing is typical for nightjars, and in fact some even perform injury-feigning in flight, deliberately pretending to have difficulty in flying (Cleere & Nurney 1998). One last thing: nightjars have been recorded to eat all sorts of crap, ranging from small stones and twigs to sand, bits of bark and leaves (Jenkinson & Mengel 1970). Why?
Refs – –
Cleere, N. & Nurney, D. 1998. Nightjars: A Guide to Nightjars and Related Nightbirds. Pica Press, Mountfield.
Jenkinson, M. A. & Mengel, R. M. 1970. Ingestion of stones by goatsuckers (Caprimulgidae). Condor 72, 236-237.