The Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus) is a small nightjar belonging to the family Caprimulgidae.
These nightjar species are distributed in Afghanistan, Iran, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. The Indian nightjar species are nocturnal birds with long pointed wings and short legs. There are two recognized subspecies of these nightjars.
Indian nightjar - Overview
- Scientific name: Caprimulgus asiaticus
- Species author: Latham, 1790
- Synonyms/Protonym: Caprimulgus asiaticus Latham, 1790
- Family: Caprimulgidae › Caprimulgiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
- Vernacular names: English: Indian nightjar, Chinese: 印度夜鹰, French: Engoulevent indien, German: Hindunachtschwalbe, Spanish: Chotacabras hindú, Russian: Индийский козодой, Japanese: インドヨタカ, Tamil: Chinna Pakki
- Other names: Common Indian nightjar, Little Indian Nightjar, Little Nightjar
- Distribution: Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos
- Diet and feeding habits: flying insects, moths, crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, beetles, swarming insects, winged ants, winged termites, flies
- IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
Appearance, physical description and identificationThe Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus) is a small nightjar, measuring about 24 cm in length and weighing about 40 to 45 grams.
There is great variation in the plumage of these Indian nightjar species. Generally the upper parts are grayish brown with blackish brown streaks. The gray crown has broad blackish brown streaks in the center and has reddish brown edges.
The tail of these nightjar species is short and has white corners. The cheeks are darker and there are whitish patches on the side of the throat. The breast region has fine brown bars. Their call is a distinctive “chuk-chuk-chuk" sound.
|Picture of Indian nightjar - Caprimulgus asiaticus by Thimindu Goonatillake|
|Image of Indian nightjar - Caprimulgus asiaticus by Vinay Narayana Swamy|
|Photo of Indian nightjar - Caprimulgus asiaticus|
Origin, geographical range and distributionThe Indian nightjar species are distributed in Afghanistan, Indian mainland, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. The subspecies C. a. eidos occur in Sri Lanka.
The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these nightjars in Nepal are, Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Chitwan National Park, Dang Deukhuri foothill forests and west Rapti wetlands. The IBA of these species in Cambodia is Chhep and in Laos is Dong Khanthung.
Ecosystem and habitatThe Indian nightjar species have very low forest dependency. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 1500 meters. They inhabit artificial ecosystems as well as natural forest and shrubland ecosystems. These species inhabit arable lands, rural gardens, urban parks and plantations.
The habitats of Indian nightjar species include tropical and subtropical dry forests, tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, tropical and subtropical dry shrublands, tropical and subtropical high altitude shrublands and tropical and subtropical moist shrublands.
Diet and feeding behaviorThe diet of these Indian nightjar species is mostly large insects. Insects like crickets, mantises, grasshoppers, locusts, cicadas, moths, beetles and wasps are the primary food. They have been observed to feed on the spurge flowers.
These nightjar species are crepuscular, active in the twilight before dawn and dusk. They fly into the swarms of insects attracted to artificial light with their bill wide open. They are seen frequently resting on roads during the night and feeding on insects under street lights.
Reproduction and breeding habitsThe breeding season of these nightjar species is from February to September in India, with a peak in April and May. In Pakistan, these species have been recorded to breed from April onwards. The nest is an unlined scrape on the bare ground.
The typical nightjar clutch contains two eggs. The eggs are creamy pink and marbled. The female incubates the eggs. The hatchlings are covered by brown down on the upperparts, providing camouflage. The hatchlings, under threat, crawl and hide among the leaf litter.
Migration and movement patternsThe Indian nightjar is a non-migrant resident bird.
Post breeding, the nightjar juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.
Conservation and survivalThe global population size of the Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus) has not been quantified. The overall population size of these species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be generally common and widespread. The generation length is 5.6 years. Their distribution size is about 8,210,000 sq.km.
The Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Loss of habitat and getting killed by vehicular traffic in the nights are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these nightjar species.
IUCN and CITES statusThe IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the nightjar species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus).
1.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thimindu/4673346433/
Image author: Thimindu Goonatillake | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 (as on 2017/02/13)
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/photos_vinu/14755483005/
Image author: Vinay Narayana Swamy | License: CC BY 2.0 (as on 2017/02/13)
3.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IndianNightJar-Nanmangalam.jpg
Image author: GnanaskandanK | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic: Indian nightjar - Caprimulgus asiaticus.