Grey Nightjar    Caprimulgus indicus jotaka


  • Caprimulgus : Latin word capra – goat; mulgere –to milk . The nightjar were assumed to drink goats milk and injure the goats
  • Indicus : From India
  • Jotaka : Japanese name Yotakanight hawk for Nightjar

Vernacular names:   Hindi: BhartiyaJungliChapka, Dabchiri, Dabnak, Pun: Janglinehrni, Bhil: Kapoo, Lepcha: Tamor, Naga: Wapatshai, Cachar: Dao chuk, Guj: Vanachhapo, Van dasharadhiyu, Te: Mobbu pitta, Ta: Padukaikuruvi, Mal: Ra chuckoo, Sinh: Bin bassa, Mar: Ranratwa

Distribution in India: Resident in Eastern Himalayas and summer visitor in North Himalayas.

Description: Size of 30-32 cm. They are sexually dimorphic. They are very dark, coarsely marked nightjar, blackish above with largely obscured pattern.The male has broad black splotches on central crown, rufous streaks on neck, broad black streaks on mantle, rufous-spotted black stripe on scapulars, rufous spotting on dark grey wing-coverts, rufous tertial tips, blackish primaries with paler tips and narrow white slash across outermost feathers, and uppertail-coverts and tail broadly barred black with white sub terminal band; broken white throat patch, white submoustachial streak, blackish breast spotted pale, rich buff belly with narrow barring, and heavier, straight bars on vent. Female has slightly warmer upperparts, bright rufous-buff throat patches and submoustachial streak, and even heavier barring on slightly darker vent.

Habitat : It is found in breeding season in open scrub and heavily forested areas. It is found from sea-level up to 3400 m.

Food Habits: It eats moths, helipterums, flying ants, grasshoppers, locusts, cockroaches, small wasps, termites and other insects. Nightjars are most active, and mostly feed, near dawn and dusk (crepuscular – active during the twilight). At dusk, they often fly around livestock to feed on insects swarming around the animals. At night, they like to take advantage of insects swarming around street lamps or other artificial light sources. It keeps the bill wide open as it flies through clouds of small insects. It may also forage under the canopy by flying from favored perches catching insects at foliage. Larger insects are usually taken back to their favoured feeding perches. While holding the insects in their bills, it keeps the head upright, shake and swallow the prey whole, or they may break the insects apart before eating. Insects may also be taken from the ground or foliage.

Breeding Habits: They breed in March-June in India.The nest-site near or on rock, beneath vegetation, in thicket, on stony slope or in ravine; no nest, eggs laid on leaf litter, bare ground, or ashes following bush fires. They lay a clutch of 1-2 pale eggs ,laid at 1–2-day intervals. The incubation period is 16-19 days, commenced with last egg done by female alone. The male sometimes taking turns close to dusk and dawn. The fledging happens in 17 days.