Caprimulgus cristatus Shaw Smith & Hunter, 1790, New South Wales. Two subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Owlet-nightjar, crested owlet-nightjar; French: Йgothиle d’Australie; German: Baumschwalm; Spanish: Egotelo Australiano.
8.3–10 in (21–25 cm); 1.4–2.1 oz (39–60 g). Upperparts are dark gray with pales lines and spots; underparts are paler with narrow brown lines. Sexes often similar but females vary between a gray morph and a rufous morph (with intermediates). The extreme rufous morph does not seem to occur in males, although intermediate males are known.
Australia, Tasmania, and southeastern New Guinea.
Open forests, woodlands, scrub, and mangroves.
Sedentary in pairs. Roosts by day, usually in tree holes.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds mainly on insects, most of which are caught by swooping (sallying) to ground from low perch.
Nests in hole, usually in tree. Clutches of two to five white eggs laid between August and December. Young hatch with white down which is replaced by gray down before juvenal feathers grow. Incubation period 25–27 days, fledging period usually 21–29 days.
Not threatened, although suffers mortality from domestic cats and road kills.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Mentioned in the legends of aboriginal Australians.
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