Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) Call Behaviour

posted in: bird, Calls, Large-tailed nightjar | 0
Image 1: The throat and neck of the bird would get considerably distended when calling.

I arrived very early at the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Perak on 2nd February 2023; it was still dark at 7.00am. There was a male Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) calling out while perched on the electrical wires, with some street lights nearby. The Nikon Z9 camera I use has an electronic viewfinder that allows for the brightness levels to be set higher. This enables good observation in very low light settings. I noticed that the throat and neck of the bird would get considerably distended when calling. I used high ISO settings (51200) to document this (see image, cleaned using Topaz Denoise). 

In addition, the white throat patch would be expressed better as the bird called out.  

Image 2 of the Large-tailed nightjar.

There was a female Large-tailed Nightjar watching nearby. The calls made were those I have previously observed as part of courtship behaviour (Amar-Singh HSS 2019). A call recording I made from Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Kuala Sepetang, Perak can be heard here:

 Once the series of calls was completed the pair flew off together.

 I wonder if the white throat patch that ‘flashes’ as the bird calls (much better appreciated in person) is part of the courtship display? It is a feature that can be appreciated in low light, especially by these nocturnal birds.



Amar-Singh HSS (2019). Large-tailed Nightjar – courtship calls. Bird Ecology Study Group.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Note to readers: If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.