Spot the nightjars!

August 17, 2014 • 10:08 am

JAC:  Matthew has gone off to the Lake District for a week’s “hols,” but he left me with a post so I wouldn’t go dry. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it’s a “Spot the nightjar” post.  Srsly!  I’ll give the answer either tomorrow or this evening.


by Matthew Cobb

OK, we’re going to give you a chance here. First you’ll get your eye in with some easy ones, then there’s the test.

This photo of a Large-tailed nightjar, by David Behrens and taken from here, gives you an idea of quite how amazing their camouflage is:

This photo of a Bonaparte’s nightjar, by Folkert Hindriks, taken from a great set of photos of Brunei you can find here (superb close-ups), is quite amazing – if the bird had its eye shut, it would be very difficult to spot:


And now, the test, a fantastic photo of a Fiery-necked nightjar by Jolyon Toscianko. And no cheating or image searching!

ced7c171fa-images-Nightjars-Nightjar in Leaves








40 thoughts on “Spot the nightjars!

    1. That last one was very admirable. I love how the dark accents on the feathers match the holes on the dead leaves. Amazing.

  1. The first two jump to the eye, as it where, nearly filling the frame. Third one slightly off centre facing us, had to look twice.
    It is striking in these nightjars ‘n crab (not to mention deer killers) photos how difficult it can be to see, but how easy it is once seen.
    It is the same with fossils, although there we do not have selection for not being seen..

  2. I see it! It’s in an obvious spot, not covered by leaf litter or detritus. Can I give a hint? The bird is facing the camera, so look for bilateral symmetry.

  3. I saw the first two because of their eyes, but couldn’t see the third until someone pointed it out. Crabs are easier for me!

  4. Finally!!! The first and only time I have ever spotted the nightjars :-0

    It does help that in this case they are large and clear, and not pixel sized bits far in the distance…

  5. I believe I’ve found the nightjar in the last picture, but to the left of it appears to be a Gaboon viper (yes, I know there isn’t one, but that’s the way it looks).

        1. Speak for yourself about strange minds, but the Gaboon viper had come to my mind too when thinking of spot the nightjar ‘n crab pictures.

  6. In the bottom image there appears to be a large spider poised in the lower RH quadrant. You can see the legs quite easily. I am surprised that no one has commented on it.

    1. Now that you mention it, there is indeed something there that looks like a “Daddy longlegs” (harvestman)! But I really think that’s actually a fortuitous arrangement of slender stems or leaf veins. Some of the veins (or whatever) that run cross-wise to the “legs” seem to connect with them at a few points.

      And it would seem to be awfully big in relation to the nightjar, unless the perspective is deeper than it appears to me.

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