Nightjars or night owls are small birds with soft, friable, dull gray-dusty, brownish-reddish or sandy-buffy plumage, with a small beak, but a very large mouth, with strongly developed bristles along the edges of the mouth. Legs small with long middle and very short lateral front toes; the claw of the middle toe is serrated along the inner edge. The wing and tail are very long.
Common nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus (Caprimulgus europeus)
The color of the nightjar is rather dark, ocher-grayish-brown. The dark gray background is finely streaked with dark brown lines and specks, on the upper part of the head there are blackish wide longitudinal spots, also on the shoulder, nape, neck and wing coverts there are reddish-buffy dull spots, the upper tail coverts are transversely streaked with dark, the throat is black-brown, narrowly transversely striped with red and with a white spot on the sides, belly, underwing and undertail of buffy-red with black-brown transverse stripes, less clear on the underside of the wings and undertail. Primary flight feathers are blackish, mottled with reddish buffy.
In the male, the flight feathers also have a large white spot on the inner webs, and the two extreme pairs of tail feathers have a large white apex. In females and juveniles, these white spots on the arms and rudders are replaced by dirty buffy ones.
The eye and beak are black-brown, the legs are reddish-brown.
Coloring is very variable in each locality, in addition, there are several local races, differing in shades and sizes and not everywhere sharply demarcated geographically.
The common nightjar nests from the extreme west of Europe and Africa (Morocco) to Lake Baikal and the central parts of Vost. Mongolia (r. Tola) and Gobi, and in some individuals it was found even in Dauria. To the north it goes up to 64 ° N. sh. in Scandinavia, 63 ° in Finland, in the southern parts of Karelia, up to approximately 60 ° in the Urals and to the regions of Tyumen, Tomsk, Yeniseisk, Irkutsk. To the south, breeds in northwestern Africa, Algeria, and Tunisia, in Asia Minor and southwestern Asia to northwestern India inclusive.
European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus europaeus
The European nightjar is distinguished by a relatively dark brownish tone of coloration on top, with wide and sharp, dark trunk stripes, especially on the shoulders, the dark pattern of the underside of the body and tail feathers is sharp, the undertail is very reddish, a white spot of the inner fan of the first m, the achovy in the male more or less round and does not reach the shaft or barely touches it, the same spot of the second flight feather does not pass, less often slightly passes to the outer fan, the white end of the extreme pair of rudders is about in length, in females the first ocher spot from the top of the inner fan and flight feathers differs little from ( The next spots.
The wing in females and grown young from 18.25 cm, the tail near the metatarsus is feathered by half or 2/3 of the length (bare part near the beak Weight about
The European nightjar breeds in Europe to the south including France, northern Italy, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukraine up to Poltava region inclusive, the middle Volga region, to the east to both slopes of the Urals (and the Turgai steppes - P.P.Sushkin) and in a certain amount even up to the Ob (unless a comparison of large series makes it possible to distinguish the birds of the European part of the Union and the Trans-Urals by their slightly paler tone, as a special race).
Winters in Africa, mainly in southern and eastern Africa.
Southern nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus meridionals (Caprimulgus europaeus meridionalis)
The color of the southern nightjar is the same or slightly lighter - and also fluctuates - as in the previous subspecies, in smaller sizes (as is very often observed in southern individuals of many bird species): the wing of an adult male is rarely up to 19 cm.However, in Crimean specimens, sometimes up to 20 cm as measured by Professor I. I. Puzanov.
Breeds in the Mediterranean region: in northwestern Africa and to the north including the Iberian, Apennine and Balkan peninsulas, part of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, Crimea, the Caucasus, the mountains of Armenia and the Caspian provinces of Iran to the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea, Asia Minor.