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.
(Concluded from p. 402.)
June 29th.—9.15. I suppose the eggs to have been hatched since 12.45 to-day, as I saw no sign of the young birds during the nearly three-quarters of an hour I was there, and saw at least one of the eggs projecting a little beyond the sitting bird's body. It might possibly, however, have been the empty shell projecting beyond the young bird as it lay under the mother's breast. Shortly afterwards one of the chicks made two or three quick little jumps upwards towards the parent bird's head, reaching its beak to hers. She bent down her head, and taking, as it appeared to me, the chick's bill in her own, she made two or three times that particular motion with the head so well known to those who have watched Doves or Pigeons feeding their young by regurgitation from the crop. The chick then crept back under the mother bird's breast. Very shortly the other chick came out and jumped up to the mother's bill in the same way, and this took place two or three times. If it is not feeding by regurgitation which takes place, I am at a loss to account for the actions of both the parent and the young birds so strongly resembling those of Doves and Pigeons under similar circumstances. During all this time the parent bird kept uttering a
- ↑ I take this opportunity of stating from my own observation that the parent Dove (that foreign species, at least, usually kept in confinement here) regurgitates the food from her crop into the beaks of both her young ones placed within hers at the same time. Not always, however; they are frequently fed separately. Neither in Seebohm, Morris, Lydekker, Howard Saunders, Prof. Newton, or the British or Chambers's Encyclopædias, can I find anything as to the Nightjar's feeding of its young, it being evidently assumed that it does so in the usual manner.