Observation of the Week, 12/23/17

Our Observation of the Week is a well-camouflaged Egyptian nightjar, seen in Iraq by @zain1224!

A naturalist from Iraq, zain1224 got into nature, as many of us did, through insects, which he found “intriguing” as as child. He read articles about birds and other organisms, and says “when I got a camera I began to photograph insects and every living that I laid eyes on.”

Insects, are also how he spotted the Egyptian nightjar pictured above. He recalls,

I was walking around with me and my friend in the area called the Baghdad district in Muhafda Basra in southern Iraq, and I was filming insects when I saw a bird fly from the dry grass. And when I went to the place it flew I found the bird's nest and there were birds but not adults and it was wonderful. I took the camera and I took a few shots.

The name “nightjar” comes from an old belief that these birds suck the milk from goats (and apparently put it in a jar?). While the “night” part is correct - they rely on camouflage plumage to hide during the day, then awake at dusk - nightjars instead consume moths and other large nocturnal insects, thanks to their insanely wide mouths. The one zain1224 saw is a juvenile, and you can see it with another nightjar (possibly a parent) in the photo below. They don’t build nests but rather their their eggs on the ground. This species, the Egyptian nightjar, ranges from southwestern Asia to northern Africa.

“I use inaturalist because I want to share with people what I'm filming and say that we humans are not the ones who live in this small world,” says zain1224. “ Every creature must be respected no matter how small. iNaturalist has changed my view of the world, because the world is full of animals in every corner of this planet, there are lives to discover and document.”

- by Tony Iwane

(Some of zain1224′s quotes have been lightly edited.)

- After a shaky beginning, here’s some great footage of an Egyptian nightjar. 

- Check out Cosmos magazine’s article about nightjar camouflage, which includes some awesome in situ photos.

- There are over 350 observations in Iraq, most of which are zain1224′s, definitely take a look at them.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, December 24, 2017 02:08



Yet another really great entry. And what an amazing observation! Great job, @zain1224 !

Posted by sambiology over 2 years ago (Flag)

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