Booth Museum Bird of the Month, June 2020: Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus

June’s bird of the month is the Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus. 

UK conservation status: Amber

Nightjars migrate to the UK during April and May. They leave for their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa in August and September. The nightjar is a bird with strange associations. Its other name is goatsucker, which seems to have arisen from its habitat of spending time on the ground, near livestock.

They have also been associated with witches. The males make a ‘churring’ sound, perched on a branch, which was thought to be witches hissing.Their plumage camouflages them in woodlands and heathlands during the day. At night, they fly silently, ‘hawking’ for insects.

Why not come and have a look at the Booth Museum specimens once we reopen and compare them with any you’ve managed to photograph (or our sample images).


Kerrie Curzon, Collections Assistant and Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences

2 Responses

  1. Albo

    A comparison of size would have been helpful, could this be incorporated in future image?

  2. Kerrie Curzon

    Hello Albo, I will have a think about how to incorporate scale into future images. Though this may not be possible with images of Booth’s cases (also known as dioramas).

    I understand the request, as one of the most useful aspects of seeing the taxidermied birds is that they provide an idea of size. An example of this is the lesser spotted woodpecker, which is always described as the size of a sparrow. However, knowing this doesn’t make it believable. When I saw the lesser spotted woodpeckers in Booth’s diorama, I finally understood just how small they are. Of course, this cannot be conveyed in the same way online.

    The nightjar is a little larger than a blackbird in length, more information can be found here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *