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Caprimulgus europaeus

warning Data Deficient

The European Nightjar is classified as Data Deficient (DD) as there is insufficient data to assess its status in Israel. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as DD as well. In summer 2017, the species was observed breeding along the Yarmukh and Jordan rivers (Shirihai 2017). The last known breeding event (single event) was recorded in the Hefer Valley in 1961. The newly discovered population is estimated at several tens of pairs based on male territorial vocalizations (Haviv 2017).
DD Current Regional Assessment | DD Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Presence In Israel Migrant, Summer
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Types Plains & Valleys, Wetlands, Riparian, Wetland Thickets
Vegetation Types Marsh and Riparian
Vegetation Densities Medium
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Aerial
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Unknown

The European Nightjar is a small nocturnal bird that specializes in hunting moths in flight. Its body is delicate and elongated, with a long narrow tail and wings. Head is large and rounded, with a short bill and a large gaping mouth. At the margins of the bill are tough bristles that broaden its “funnel trap”. Its feathers are soft, grey and streaked, providing excellent camouflage against a background of leaves or tree bark. Flight is silent, light and agile, with light jumps, flutters, rapid changes of direction and short glides. Wings are curved, bent at the carpal joint. The adult male has prominent white patches on its wings and tail.

The European Nightjar is a relatively common passage migrant throughout most of Israel, and can be seen migrating in all climates, including active flight over the sea. It was only recently discovered to breed in Israel and its currently known breeding range is along the Yarmukh and southern Jordan rivers, from Hamat Gader in the north to Shadmot Mehola in the south (Haviv 2017).

The European Nightjar has suffered pesticide poisoning in Europe. Its threats in Israel are unknown.

  • חביב, א. 2017. סיכום פעילות ניטור קינון תחמס אירופי יולי 2017. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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