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Nightjars: Caprimulgiformes

Behavior And Reproduction

Caprimulgiformes are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night. Some families are also crepuscular (kri-PUS-kyuh-lur), becoming active at twilight. Birds in this order communicate with calls.

Most species are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), mating with one partner. Nightjars do not build nests, and the female lays one to two eggs. She and the male incubate the eggs, sitting on them until they hatch. In some species, both parents feed the young birds. Female oilbirds have a clutch of two to four eggs, and both parents incubate them. Female frogmouths lay from one to three eggs, and both parents incubate. Owlet-nightjars lay three to four eggs. Females incubate and both parents feed the young. Potoos usually have a clutch of one egg. Both parents incubate and care for the young.

While frogmouths, owlet-nightjars, oilbirds, and potoos live their lives in one area, some nightjar species travel great distances. European nightjars breed in Europe and migrate to Africa for the winter.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNightjars: Caprimulgiformes - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Caprimulgiformes And People, Conservation Status - DIET