Vagrant Egyptian Nightjar on Fuerteventura

A Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius) was found on March 29, 2007 near La Lajita Beach on Fuerteventura. The Egyptian Nightjar was ringed and released the next day.

After the onset of south-easterly winds and sandstorms from the Sahara, a Egyptian Nightjar was caught on the island of Fuerteventura at the end of March 2007, probably as an adult.

The captured specimen was found at sunset on March 29 near La Lajita beach, in the municipality of Pájara. Apparently exhausted, the bird was handed over to the staff of the Fuerteventura Island Council. The bird was then given to members of the Global Nature Foundation. This foundation carries out ringing work on the island.

Said bird reportedly had no injuries and was in good physical condition, except for the absence of many feathers, which is likely due to encountering a dog or cats from the nearby settlement near the site.

The Egyptian Nightjar is a widespread species in the Sahara, found in the Middle East, Iraq and North Africa. A discovery of an Egyptian Nightjar is described from a site near the border between Egypt and Sudan in a bird-lens blog. The subspecies saharae occurs in western Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. In said area, this nightjar is found south of the Great Atlas and inhabits sandy and steppe areas near the desert. The breeding area closest to the Canary Islands is in the Souss region.

There are sedentary, but mostly migratory populations. After the breeding season, the migratory birds migrate to areas south of the Sahara. They migrate as far as Senegal and Mali, where they stay from December to February. The main wintering area is in the eastern Sahel zone of Africa. The subspecies saharae, which is decisive for the above find, leaves the breeding areas from September to October and migrates to the south and south-west. Migration home then takes place between March and April – i.e. exactly in the right time window.

In Europe there have been a few mentions over the last few centuries. There are observations mainly from Italy and Malta. The Egyptian Nightjar has also appeared as a very rare vagrant in Great Britain (June 1883, June 1984), Germany (1875), Sweden (1972) and Denmark (1983). So far no evidence of this species has been recorded in Spanish territory, making this observation the first for Spain.

It is therefore worthwhile not to think directly of “our” nightjar, the Eurasian Nightjar or European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) when it comes to gray birds flying low at night in the headlights of your car in southern climes, but also to consider other possibilities.

Now only the Nubian Nightjar (Caprimulgus nubicus) is missing from the list of regular nightjars in the western Palearctic. In Israel, the Nubian Nightjar became very rare due to the disappearance of the salt marshes north of Eilat ( The local subspecies tamaricis is specific to the unique Tamarix and Suedea salt marshes. All but one of the salt marshes, the Sdom salt marsh south of the Dead Sea, were converted for agricultural cultivation in the 2000’s and up. The once-thriving salt marshes of Eilat, Yotvata, Hazeva, and many others have disappeared under tomato and pepper fields. With the disappearance of the salt marshes, the Nubian nightjar lost almost all of its habitat in Israel and is currently considered critically endangered in Israel. Up to 60 pairs survived in the Sdom salt marshes south of the Dead Sea in the late 1990s. However, in recent years, the species has made a comeback due to efforts to restore small portions of salt marsh habitat elsewhere in Israel. An attempt was also made to restore a small salt marsh in the Eilat area. Irrigation is by local flooding with salt water; very similar to natural conditions.

The change became apparent after just a few months: millions of insects and thousands of insect-eating bats now use the meadows as their home. Since 2016, two Nubian Nightjars, probably adults, have been sighted regularly in the small restored salt marsh. It might be worth flying to Israel again soon.

In order to meet the growing demand for top images of the rarer species of Palaearctic has specifically made trips to remote places. Additionally every chance is used, if a rare bird is around the homeground. This to do everything to ensure excellent photos of the Birds of the Western Palearctic . The yield of pictures also of rare Western Palaearctic birds is very good. There are other nice images of birds, that you will find behind the tab “Picture Shop“. Just give a notice if you need a picture of a bird which is not online.


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