Nightjar Bird is a superbly camouflaged and cryptically plumaged bird, very hard to find in the daytime, although in summer birds will emerge from roosts before it is completely dark. The plumage is a blend of greys, browns and blacks, so that when roosting it looks just like a branch. The male has very bold white spots near the tips of the primaries and big square white corners to the long tail, features absent in the more uniform female. In flight it sails along buoyantly, showing long narrow wings and tail, and catching insects on the wing with sharply erratic movements.
Nightjar Bird is a summer visitor to our region from Africa, Nightjar Bird can be found around woodland but avoids densely forested country, favouring areas with clearings, glades, young conifer plantations, heaths, moorland, forest edge and adjoining open country. It has a preference for sandy soils and bare ground. Roosts on the ground, on a log or on a branch, and will typically sing from a raised perch.
The song of the Nightjar Bird (male) is a haunting churring, resembling a distant two-stroke motor or a very butch Mole Cricket, sung at night, pre-dawn, and often at dusk when birds emerge from their roost. It can continue unbroken for several minutes, interspersed with short 'gear changes' of lower-pitched churrs, as in "r'r'r'r'r'r'r'r'r'r'orrr"r'r'r'r'r' r'r'r'orrrr"r'r'r'r'r'r..." etc. It may end the churring sequence by petering out into a descending "kwhirr-kwhirr-kwhirr'r'r'r'r'r'r..." or continue by rumbling along in a lower-pitched, quieter 'half-churr'. Between churring bouts, it takes to the wing and often makes a loud wing clap, a slapping 'bapp bapp' sound. The call note frequently given in flight by both sexes is a frog-like "koo'ik" or "oo-whick". A shorter, rather barking "kwuk!" call is given in alarm when a nest is approached.