The Goatsucker

August 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm


One of the most elusive and mysterious of all our Summer visitors is the Nightjar.  In medieval times because of its crepuscular and nocturnal nature and its habits of feeding around goats (because they disturb flying insects on which it feeds) it acquired the name of Goatsucker. This name was further enforced by its enormous mouth and pink fleshy lining, the result of drinking goat’s milk! Today we are more enlightened but none the less it remains a bird of mystery.

In the forty five years that I have been filming birds I always dreamt of sitting in my hide at the nest of a Nightjar and recording on camera what the female did during the day when her eggs had hatched. This Summer it all came to fruition, in a remote Northern forest, as I spent three weeks filming this magical bird. I was able to capture her removing the discarded eggshells, yawning in the hot sunshine and looking after her two young as they remained with her for more than two weeks. The young would also yawn at an early age and the whole family was remarkably camouflage as they lay motionless amongst the young pines. It was an experience to spend the diurnal hours with them. Click here