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Nightjar

Caprimulgus europaeus

Tuirne lín

Status: Rare and secretive summer-visitor to uplands in southern Ireland.

Conservation Concern: Red-listed in Ireland, due to declines in the breeding population. The European population has been evaluated as Depleted, due to a moderate historical decline.

Identification
: Very rarely seen owing to its nocturnal habits and highly cryptic plumage. The body is grey brown, with extensive black streaking and a small white patch on the throat. The underparts are densely barred black. In flight, male Nightjars have distinctive white patches on the wing tips and the corners of the tail.

Similar Species: None in Ireland.

Call: Most frequently heard is the rather unusual song, a continous "churring" given throughout the night. Sounds similar to the song of Grasshopper Warbler, which may also sing at night in similar habitat.

Diet: Feeds on insects caught in flight from dusk throughout the night.

Breeding: Only a handful of pairs breed in Ireland, usually on recently planted conifer plantations or clearfells in uplands. More widespread in Britain and Continental Europe.

Wintering
: Winters in tropical Africa.

Where to See
: There are no regular sites to Nightjars in Ireland. Occasionally recorded as a passage migrant on Great Saltee Island in County Wexford.

Monitored by
: BirdTrack.

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