Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Australian owlet-nightjar

Aegotheles cristatus

Photo by Edward Smith (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Australian owlet-nightjar (en); noitibó-coruja-australiano (pt); égothèle d'Australie (fr); egotelo australiano (es); baumschwalm (de)

Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Aegothelidae

This species is found across Australia, Tasmania and in southern New Guinea.

These birds are 21-25 cm long and weigh 42-53 g.

Australian owlet-nightjars are mostly found in dry open woodlands and forests, but can also use moist forests, mangroves and dry scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

These birds are insectivorous, eating ants, beetles and grasshoppers.

These birds breed in July-December. They nest in a tree hollow or rock crevice, inside which they form a bed of green leaves where the eggs are layed. The female lays 2-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 25-28 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 21-29 days after hatching, but remain with the parents for another 2 weeks.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The Australian owlet-nightjar has a very large breeding range and is reported to be widespread in Australia and moderately common over much of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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