Long-tailed nightjar

The long-tailed nightjar is one of those birds you don’t see until you’re virtually on top of it. It is famous for its ability to camouflage itself perfectly into the backdrop of the forest.

I challenge anyone to find the bird below left without significant searching or zooming in on the picture. Once you see him it’s hard to believe you couldn’t see him all along.

Long-tailed nightjar on the forest floor – ©Robert Carr
It is easy to see how this little bird blends in – ©Robert Carr

Bird information.

Where can we see the Long-tailed nightjar?

It is found at Brufut woods, approximately forty minutes drive from Footsteps

What does it look like?

Mostly rufous-brown or grey-brown, in Gambia dark brown. Males and females have a distinctive light mark on their outer wings and also along the sides of their tails which are white in male nightjars and a buff colour in females. Adult nightjars grow to a length of 25-33 cm and weigh between 55-78 g

What does it feed on?

They feed primarily on insects at night.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

This little bird has a rather unusual bill which can open into a kind of scoop which helps it catch insects in flight. 

How does it sound?

Its call is a high pitched fast mechanical trill. When in flight and hunting for insects it will make a sound like Chieaww.

Scroll to Top