What are Nightjars?

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What are Nightjars? Blog Image


A team of scientists recently described a new species of nightjar, named Caprimulgus ritae, living in the tropical forests Timor and Wetar, Lesser Sunda Islands.

About Nightjars:

  • They are medium-sized nocturnal insectivorous birds in the family Caprimulgidae and the order Caprimulgiformes.
  • These birds are found all around the world, with the exception of Antarctica, and certain island groups, such as the Seychelles.
  • Features:
    • They are characterized by long wings,short legs, and very short bills.
    • They feed on flying insects that they catch on the wing at night.
    • Their grey-brown, mottled, streaked, and stripey plumage provides ideal camouflage in the daytime. 
    • During the day, they sleep on the ground or perched, usually lengthwise, on a branch.
  • They are among the most difficult bird species to study due to their unobtrusive and nocturnal behavior and cryptic plumage.

Key Facts about Lesser Sunda Islands:

  • The Lesser Sunda Islands are an archipelago in maritime Southeast Asia.
  • It is located to the immediate east of Java and to the north of Western Australia. 
  • Major islands in the group include Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, and Timor
  • Together with the Greater Sunda Islands to the west, they make up the Sunda Islands. 

The islands are part of a volcanic arc, the Sunda Arc, formed by subduction along the Sunda Trench in the Java Sea.

Q1: What is a volcanic arc?

A volcanic arc is a chain of volcanoes, hundreds to thousands of miles long, that forms above a subduction zone. An island volcanic arc forms in an ocean basin via ocean-ocean subduction.

Source: New Species of Bird Discovered on Lesser Sunda Islands