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Nightjar

Nightjar

Long-distance migrant, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa

Status

  • Principal Biodiversity Species in Wales

  • The Population Status of Birds in Wales:

Amber-listed16, 17

  • EU Birds Directive – Annex 1

Population trend and distribution

>10 ha are sufficient to maintain local populations. Invertebrate-rich habitats within 3 km of the nest site are important, eg wet features, native woodland, mature hedges, old pasture and areas with grazing animals (Langston et al. in press).

Nesting: eggs are laid on bare ground, usually with scattered plant debris, heather or brash. Smaller, discrete, patches of bare ground are thought to offer better concealment of nests than more open areas.

The Welsh nightjar population has been increasing since the early 1980s, mainly due to the colonisation of clearfelled areas in forestry (Lovegrove et al. 1994). In 2004 a survey found 269 churring males, an increase of approximately 25% in Wales since 1992 with 80% of churring males in conifer plantations and 15% in ffridd (Johnstone et al. 2005).

Breeding season:

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Feeding: nightjars feed entirely on insects, mainly larger moths and beetles, usually taken on the wing at night.

Species requirements

Conservation issues

General: nightjars occupy large (over 2 ha) open habitats, eg clearfells, and ffridd (isolated areas of suitable habitat of less than 2 ha are avoided). Open areas of

  • A potential reduction in food availability through changes in agriculture, eg indirect effects of pesticides (Langston et al. in press).

16 Historical population decline during 1800–1994, but with a doubling of population over previous 25 years, and a moderate (25–49%) contraction of Welsh breeding range over 25 years. 17 Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Amber-listed.

63

Mike Richards/rspb-images.com

Figure 23 Key areas for nightjar in Wales.

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