“We have had this house guest, a Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus bimaculatus), for the past 1yr and 9 months that has delighted us and friends/visitors, especially non-bird watchers.
“Since our urban garden is intentionally kept wild, it attracts many other animals and birds. Of note are venomous tree snakes (generally harmless), Asian/Common Water Monitors (Varanus salvator), more than 70 species of birds including the occasional hornbills, etc.
“A recent frequent visitor, and now a permanent resident, is the Common Treeshrew (Tupaia glis) which has proven to be a nuisance to birds. The chap has brought a partner along and we suspect has eaten the eggs from one Yellow-vented Bulbul nest. Since its presence we have noted a reduction in nesting birds in the garden.
“It has also made the Large-tailed Nightjar more careful when on the ground. Generally however the Treeshrew leaves the Nightjar alone.
“In the past 2 months, neighbourhood cats have started using our garden as a walk-way. This is because our adopted stray dog has been aging and is less alert or concerned. This has become a major threat to the Large-tailed Nightjar who has had to vacate our garden intermittently. We have decided to net off some of the access points to the garden used by the cats. In addition, in the past week, we have worked with our local hardware shop to build a custom-made nightjar platform for the bird. The bird already has a good perch, a tree stump which we created. But this is insufficient for its daytime activities.
“At some point I need to write a long article on all the day-time activities of this bird. One of the frequent, almost daily, activities is the need to move to the ground and sun feathers (sunbathe) to deal with parasites. This is associated with gular fluttering to help cope with the heat.
“Now that cats are around, the bird is not able to do this on the ground and may have to roost elsewhere. We hope this new platform we created will offer it a safe place to roost as well as sunbathe. It is also a higher perch to reduce the risk of a cat attack.
“The post shows our friend, the male Large-tailed Nightjar, using the custom-made nightjar platform after a very wet night. We hope the bird will learn to rest on the platform to spread-out and sun feathers.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS & Datin Dr Swee-Im Lim
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
3rd April 2018
Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Wild urban garden