Jungle nightjar

   ›      ›   Jungle nightjar - Caprimulgus indicus.

The jungle nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) belongs to the family of nightjars, Caprimulgidae. These nightjar species are distributed in India and Sri Lanka. There are two recognized subspecies of the jungle nightjar. They inhabit the margins of deciduous and evergreen forests.

Jungle nightjar - Overview

  • Scientific name: Caprimulgus indicus
  • Species author: Latham, 1790
  • Synonyms: Indian jungle nightjar
  • Family: Caprimulgidae › Caprimulgiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Common Name: Jungle nightjar
  • Other languages: Chinese: 普通夜鹰, French: Engoulevent de jungle, German: Dschungelnachtschwalbe, Spanish: Chotacabras de jungla, Russian: Большой козодой, Malay: Burung Tukang Hutan, Bengali: মেটে রাতচরা
  • Other names: Gray nightjar, Indian jungle nightjar, large Indian nightjar
  • Distribution: India, Sri Lanka
  • Diet and feeding habits: Large insects like cicadas, grasshoppers, beetles, mantises, moths, locusts, wasps
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The two recognized subspecies of jungle nightjar are: C. i. indicus Latham, 1790 and C. i. kelaarti Blyth, 1851. Caprimulgus indicus was earlier clubbed with East Asian gray nightjar (C. jotaka) as a subspecies. Caprimulgus indicus is closely related to C. europaeus, C. jotaka and C. phalaena.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The jungle nightjar is a small nocturnal bird, measuring 21 to 25 cm in length and weighing 60 to 100 grams. The plumage varies between males and females. The jungle nightjar is grayish-brown on the upperparts with blackish brown streaks. The crown region is also streaked blackish brown. The tail is gray, having well separated narrow black bars. There is a white broken throat patch in the male bird, whereas it is rufous in the female.

Their soft plumage color and its patterns resembling bark or leaves helps to camouflage them with their surroundings. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. These nightjar species perch along a branch, rather than across it. They are mostly active before dawn, after dusk and during the night. The jungle nightjar call is a series of thacoo or chuck sounds.
Indian birds - Jungle nightjar - Caprimulgus indicus
Birds of India - Jungle nightjar - Caprimulgus indicus
Birds of India - Caprimulgus indicus
Indian birds - Jungle nightjar - Caprimulgus indicus
Indian birds - Caprimulgus indicus
Birds of India - Caprimulgus indicus

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These jungle nightjar species are distributed all over Indian forests and woodlands, south of Himalayas. They also occur in Sri Lanka. The subspecies C. i. indicus is distributed in India. The subspecies C. i. kelaarti is distributed in Sri Lanka.

Ecosystem and habitat

The nightjar ecosystem includes temperate and tropical forests, evergreen forests, deciduous forests, mixed bamboo forests and scrub jungles.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of these species mostly consists of large insects like cicadas, grasshoppers, mantises, beetles and moths. They may catch the prey while flying or pick it up from the ground. They actively feed before dawn and after dusk.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of nightjar is from January to June in India. In Sri Lanka, the breeding season is from March to July. They lay two eggs on the bare patch of ground. Both the parents incubate the eggs for about 17 days.

Movement and migration patterns

These jungle nightjar species are mostly sedentary and are residents in their range. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of these jungle nightjar has not been quantified. The overall population trend is considered to be stable. They have a large range and population. These nightjar species do not approach the thresholds for population trend criterion and the population size criterion. Hence considered not "Vulnerable" to extinction. Loss of woodlands and deforestation are the main threats to the survival of these birds.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these jungle nightjar species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Caprimulgus indicus
Species:C. indicus
Binomial name:Caprimulgus indicus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_Jungle_Nightjar_-_Caprimulgus_indicus_-_Ranthambore.jpg
Image author: Swapnil V. Bhende | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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