Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) in Brandenburg/ Germany

ZiegenmelkerWhen twilight turns to darkness, you can hear a sustained, discrete purring on the former military training grounds in the southern part of Brandenburg,. It seems to come from the darkness of the small poplar and birch groves. In the secondary growth of birch, poplar, aspen and pine trees with some open sandy places underneath the Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) achieves its highest breeding density. The Eurasian Nightjar is an only blackbird-sized bird which has a gray-brown plumage with showy white spots. The bird belongs to the family of Nightjars (Caprimulgidae), of which only this species occurs in Central Europe. By the way, night swallows are quite closely related to the Swifts and the Hummingbirds. The well audible singing of the nightjar, one of alternating between two tones rhythmic purring “rrrrrrrr …”, is the background noise of brandenburg heath until late at night. During the courtship, the male Eurasian Nightjar flies to a perch constantly uttering its flight calls. The perch can be a dead branch under the crown of an old pine, but it can also be a high vantage within an open sandy space on a hill. Here, the male “purrs” extensively. In between, the male Eurasian Nightjar, wing-clapping, looks for another perch and purrs on from there. If the female shows up, the male stopps purring with high, squeaky cries and flies flapping the wings while calling at low altitude over the heath. Here, the last stretch is slid back with raised wings and spread tail. The white badges are proudly exposed by the male. The female follows, beats her wings and expresses aireal calls. From the ground you can hear the dull purr of the female. After a few minutes, the male Eurasian Nightjar returns to the perch and purrs again. For hours the males can indulge in this advertising.

The heath south of Berlin is vegetated more and more with pines, aspens and birches. Before heathland develops again into forests in the course of natural succession, the Eurasian Nightjar finds favorable habitat conditions. The female hatches only two eggs per year on the bare heath ground in the partial shade of larger trees and shrubs. Finding a nest is almost impossible due to the perfect camouflage of the birds. Often you can observe the species in the last light on sandy trails or in the range of clearings on insect hunting. The extremely wide, open pharynx serves the Eurasian Nightjar as a net to catch swarming large insects like moths.

On the basis of current population counts, it is assumed that about one third of all German Eurasian Nightjars breed in Brandenburg. The responsibility for the conservation of this species, which is also to be strictly protected under the European Birds Directive, is therefore particularly high here.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic. Trips to remote places to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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