Savannah Nightjar nesting in Ipoh, Malaysia

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“Savannah Nightjars (Caprimulgus affinis) have been proliferating in parts of Perak (my region). Previously thought to be confined far south. In the past 4 years have seen them at various parts of the city and surrounding areas, as well as occasionally at my home.

“My prior observations about nesting periods:
1. Noted juveniles at this site September 2010, August 2009.
2. Seen eggs August 2009. This is later than reported clutches – usually May or June.
3. Also noted courting & nesting territorial behaviour October 2010.

“Yesterday returned to the site which has 12 adults roosting there regularly. Identified two nests with eggs. Both had females incubating the eggs. This is earlier than expected (above).

“I did not try to look for more as there is a risk of damaging eggs as they are hard to spot. Suspect most are nesting as the area was ‘quite’ (only accidentally flushed one female).

“When incubating the birds appear to be very tolerant to approach (left). Usually flushed at 2-3 meters distance when not nesting. This female pretended that I could not see her. Once spotted, I took 15 minutes to approach in slow concentric circles. Final approach was a crawl on hands and knees. At 1.5 meters I stopped and decided just to sit and enjoy her company and her gift of presence. Sat for 20 minutes and enjoyed some biscuits. Was not planning to flush her or photograph eggs but when I choose to leave I must have inadvertently startled her. Took quick pictures of eggs and left.

“A clutch of 2 eggs, brown with speckled/mottled dark brown, almost black botches. Eggs were 29 by 20.5 mm. Measure measurement were taken by using a leaf at the site and eggs/area around them was not touched. (Measure measurements from my posting in August 2009 were 28 by 20 mm) A perspective image and a close up.”

“[Another nesting female was sighted] …20 metres from the first one and had more ‘dense’ ground vegetation cover (above). Again a clutch of 2 eggs, light brown with speckled/mottled dark brown and black areas. Have see a number of eggs and there is a reasonable variation in the basal brown colour, from a light cream brown to a much darker shade. Not sure if this is related to hatching time or just variation in egg colour.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
19th February 2011

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