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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/418

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THE ZOOLOGIST.
 

AN OBSERVATIONAL DIARY OF THE HABITS
OF NIGHTJARS (CAPRIMULGUS EUROPÆUS),
MOSTLY OF A SITTING PAIR. NOTES TAKEN
AT TIME AND ON SPOT.

By Edmund Selous.

 

June 22nd, 1898.—Crawled up behind a small elder bush some three paces from where a Nightjar had laid her eggs. When nearly there the bird flew down, not on to nest, but close to it. Shortly afterwards the other bird flew down beside it, and immediately I heard a very low and subdued "churr," expressive of quiet contentment, I think, and very different from the ordinary loud note of the bird. After I had got up under cover of the bush the following occurred:—One of the birds came on to the eggs, and began to "churr" softly. The other bird then flew down and sat close beside it, also churring (I think, but cannot be certain if both churred together). The bird last arrived then flew away, leaving the other on the eggs. This one, after ten minutes or so, also flew away, uttering the "quaw-ee" note. In a little while one of the birds returned, and settled near the eggs. Its mate very shortly joined it; and I now heard another note, a low croon, quite distinct from the "churr" uttered by one or both of them. One bird then flew away, and the other came and sat on the eggs, and began to "churr" softly at first, then loudly, the ordinary churring note. In some ten or fifteen minutes' time it flew off. In a little while one of the birds returned, and was followed almost at once by the other. Both flew down near the eggs, and soon one settled itself on to them, the other flying away. I had now got my watch out, and this bird sat for fifty-five minutes silently (no "churr," no sound at all), at the end of which time its partner flew near by clapping its wings, and then sat on a bush close behind me (as I judged, for I could not turn), and "quaw-eed."[1] Upon this, as in answer to a summons, the

  1. As it flew off no doubt, for this note "quaw-ee quaw-ee" is, according to my observation, only made in the air.