The Swallow-tailed Nightjar, also known as the "Fork-tailed Nightjar", is a remarkable bird species that belongs to the Caprimulgidae family. They are unique and different from other species of nightjars, as they have distinguishing features such as their forked tail and their size, which is larger than most other species of nightjars. Their size can range from about 8.3 to 9.4 inches (21-24 cm), and their wings can extend up to 17 inches (43 cm) in length.
The Swallow-tailed Nightjar is widely distributed across the African continent, and can be found in a variety of habitats including grasslands, savannas, and deciduous woodlands. They are mostly active during the night, when they venture out to look for insects to feed on, and during the day they usually rest on tree branches lying flat against the bark.
Their beautiful and distinctive plumage is characterized by shades of grey, buff, and brown, while their throat and neck feathers have pale bars. Additionally, their upper wing coverts have a white stripe on them, and their tail has a distinct fork that sets them apart from other birds. The Swallow-tailed Nightjar also has proportionately large eyes that have a reflective tapetum, which allows for better night vision.
During breeding season, the Swallow-tailed Nightjar's male performs a unique aerial display to attract the female. They will fly up into the air, making loud clicking sounds while their wings clap together. This stunning display helps to attract the female, which will select the male who has the most impressive aerial performance.
Sadly, the Swallow-tailed Nightjar's population is declining due to habitat destruction and fragmentation. They are also hunted in some regions for food or as part of traditional medicine practices. Conservation efforts are being implemented in some areas to protect their habitat and raise awareness of their importance as part of the ecosystem.
In conclusion, the Swallow-tailed Nightjar is a fascinating species of bird with many unique features and behaviors. It is a beautiful example of the diversity and complexity of nature, and deserves to be protected for future generations to enjoy.