Caprimulgus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. Six subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Common goatsucker; French: Engoulevent d’Europe; German: Ziegenmelker; Spanish: Chotacabras Europeo.
10–11 in (25–28 cm); 1.2–3.6 oz (35–101 g). Grayish brown, blackish brown, buff, brown, and whitish cryptic coloration. Sexually dimorphic.
Breeds across most of Europe and North Africa and east across Asia to Outer Mongolia; all populations migrate to winter in Africa south of Sahara.
Breeds in open woodland, heath, sand dunes, steppe, and semidesert; winters in savannas and woodlands.
Roosts during daytime; active from before dusk until dawn. Prolonged churring song serves to advertise territory. Song is a sustained tremolo, alternating between lower-pitched screeches and slower, higher-pitched screeches, and ending in a quiet bubbling trill, the whole often lasting five minutes.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Catches insect prey in sustained hawking flights or in short sallying flights from perches.
Unlined nest on ground with clutch of two eggs. Eggs are pale gray to cream with dark blotches and spots. Incubation mainly by female for 17 days. Small young have cream-buff down. Young tended by one or both parents; able to fly when about 17 days old.
Not globally threatened, but declining in some European countries such as Ireland.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Infrequently noticed by local people, except for its churring nocturnal song.
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