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Caprimulgus europaeus

warning Data Missing

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 World Assessment

Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Wetland Thickets, Riparian, Wetlands
Vegetation Formations Wetland Thickets
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 in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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