European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Caprimulgidae
Genus Caprimulgus

Caprimulgus is a large and very widespread genus of nightjars. Caprimulgus is derived from the Latin capra, "nanny goat", and mulgere, "to milk", referring to an old myth that nightjars suck milk from goats. The common name "nightjar", first recorded in 1630, refers to the nocturnal habits of the bird, the second part of the name deriving from the distinctive churring song.

Caprimulgus nightjars are found around the world, and like other nightjars they usually nest on the ground. They are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed predominantly on moths and other large flying insects.

Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. Some species, unusually for birds, perch along a branch, rather than across it, which helps to conceal them during the day. Temperate species are strongly migratory, wintering in the tropics.

Caprimulgus species have relatively long bills and rictal bristles. Many have repetitive and often mechanical songs.


Egyptian Nightjar (Lichtenstein, 1823) (Caprimulgus aegyptius)
Savanna Nightjar (Horsfield, 1821) (Caprimulgus affinis)
Andaman Nightjar (Hume, 1873) (Caprimulgus andamanicus)
Indian Nightjar (Latham, 1790) (Caprimulgus asiaticus)
Jerdon's Nightjar (Jerdon, 1845) (Caprimulgus atripennis)
Bates's Nightjar (Sharpe, 1906) (Caprimulgus batesi)
Brown Nightjar (Bonaparte, 1850) (Caprimulgus binotatus)
Sulawesi Nightjar (Ogilvie-Grant, 1894) (Caprimulgus celebensis)
Vaurie's Nightjar (Vaurie, 1960) (Caprimulgus centralasicus)
Slender-tailed Nightjar (Reichenow, 1892) (Caprimulgus clarus)
Long-tailed Nightjar (Vieillot, 1825) (Caprimulgus climacurus)
Bonaparte's Nightjar (Bonaparte, 1850) (Caprimulgus concretus)
Donaldson Smith's Nightjar (Sharpe, 1895) (Caprimulgus donaldsoni)
European Nightjar (Linnaeus, 1758) (Caprimulgus europaeus)
Golden Nightjar (Temminck, 1826) (Caprimulgus eximius)
Square-tailed Nightjar (Hartlaub, 1857) (Caprimulgus fossii)
Sombre Nightjar (Salvadori, 1884) (Caprimulgus fraenatus)
Jungle Nightjar (Latham, 1790) (Caprimulgus indicus)
Plain Nightjar (Heuglin, 1869) (Caprimulgus inornatus)
Grey Nightjar (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845) Caprimulgus jotaka (sometimes included in Caprimulgus indicus)
Standard-winged Nightjar (Shaw, 1796) (Caprimulgus longipennis)
Large-tailed Nightjar (Horsfield, 1821) (Caprimulgus macrurus)
Madagascan Nightjar (Sganzin, 1840) (Caprimulgus madagascariensis)
Sykes's Nightjar (Sykes, 1832) (Caprimulgus mahrattensis)
Philippine Nightjar (Walden, 1875) (Caprimulgus manillensis)
Mees's Nightjar (Sangster & Rozendaal, 2004) (Caprimulgus meesi)
Swamp Nightjar (Smith, 1845) (Caprimulgus natalensis)
Black-shouldered Nightjar (Reichenow, 1893) (Caprimulgus nigriscapularis)
Nubian Nightjar (Lichtenstein, 1823) (Caprimulgus nubicus)
Fiery-necked Nightjar (Cuvier, 1816) (Caprimulgus pectoralis)
Palau Nightjar (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1872) (Caprimulgus phalaena)
Montane Nightjar (Rüppell, 1840) (Caprimulgus poliocephalus)
Prigogine's Nightjar (Louette, 1990) (Caprimulgus prigoginei)
Salvadori's Nightjar (Salvadori, 1879) (Caprimulgus pulchellus)
Red-necked Nightjar (Temminck, 1820) (Caprimulgus ruficollis)
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar (Smith, 1845) (Caprimulgus rufigena)
Ruwenzori Nightjar (Ogilvie-Grant, 1908) (Caprimulgus ruwenzorii)
Nechisar Nightjar (R.J. Safford, J.S. Ash, J.W. Duckworth, M.G. Telfer & C. Zewdie, 1995) (Caprimulgus solala)
Star-spotted Nightjar (Blundell & Lovat, 1899) (Caprimulgus stellatus)
Freckled Nightjar (Rüppell, 1840) (Caprimulgus tristigma)
Pennant-winged Nightjar (Gould, 1838) (Caprimulgus vexillarius)
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