Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis)


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skfoo

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Mar 15, 2003
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3 years ago (before I became interested in birds), I saw my first nightjar (not a Savanna Nightjar) in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. It looked different as compared to other birds I have seen. The grey/brownish plumage allowed it to blend very well with the surrounding. Crouching motionlessly on the ground, it looked fierce even with its eyes closed. Somehow, there was this mystical air about it that I left (walked on) without taking any shot of it (only to realize that I missed a rare opportunity to take a picture of nightjar in the open during day time!).

During the course of bird photography in Singapore, I have encountered nightjars in a number of grassland areas in Punggol, Tuas, Kranji and Lim Chu Kang. Admittedly, they can be quite hard to spot. Nightjars rest during the day and become active during twilight hours around dawn and dusk. Its buoyant, agile twisting and turning in pursuit of moths and other flying insects never fail to impress those who have a chance to see it. (I am still trying to figure how to capture this with a camera in low light, any advice is appreciated. Off hand, I am thinking about using light beam or laser sensor to trigger the camera remotely. But where to get them in Singapore?) Most of the time, we know we saw a nightjar when a pair of red eyes flew past the car.

Nightjars are birds of legend. In the 17th century Britain, nightjars are thought to be “goatsucker” as people really believed that nightjars visited goats at night and drank their milk! Incidentally, Caprimulgus is a latin word for goatsucker. So you can imagine there are calls for action and cries for the creature blood. But none of the frightened crowd volunteers to venture out into the night ……

In south-eastern parts of USA, it was once thought that the number of times a Whip-poor-will (related to nightjar) sang in succession indicated the number of years it would be before a man married.

In Sulawesi, the Satanic or Diabolical Nightjar (Eurostopodus diabolicus) was named because of the belief that the call it made by night was the sound of it pulling out people eyes!

Well, so much about the myth and legends. :sweat: I will like to share some images of Savanna Nightjar that I was lucky to come across. Sometimes they are skittish but sometimes they allowed me to get really close. All images are captured with Nikon D2X, AFS500mmf/4 with or without 1.4XTC.



The second image was shot in High Speed Crop (HSC) mode. The lighting was not ideal but it shows the nightjar from head to toes. I thought this fella has a nice plumage.





Comments are welcome!

Cheers!
 

cannonball

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May 10, 2006
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Very sharp and close up to the bird...

and thanks for the infos about this mystical bird..:thumbsup:

like #01 best!
 

wheels

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Very swee and sharp pics SKFoo. :thumbsup:
Fella looks very sleepy in pic 2. Must be too much daylight.
 

tanhb

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Everytime I see photo with a write up I learn something. Thanks for sharing.
 

skfoo

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cannonball/Madcat II/wheels/chngpe01/Reno/tanhb,

Thanks for the comments!;)
 

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