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The Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus (L 24-27cm) may share nocturnal habits with owls but the similarities between these unrelated birds ends there. The Nightjar has a huge gape that it uses to catch flying moths. The species is hard to find in the daytime, thanks to its cryptic plumage and often observers have to satisfy themselves with the silhouette of a bird in flight: it looks long-winged and narrow-tailed. All birds have intricate brown, grey and black markings that, in combination, resemble tree bark; males have striking white patches near the wingtips and corners of the tail. Territorial males utter a distinctive churring song for hours on end, after dark. The Nightjar is a migrant visitor to the region, found mainly on lowland heathland (where it is easiest to find) and heather moors.
- © PAUL STERRY/ROB READ/Nature Photographers
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- Contained in galleries