Australian owlet-nightjar

It looks like a giant moth and loves moonlight like any other selenophile

JJ Harrison

Australian owlet-nightjar


It looks like a giant moth and loves moonlight like any other selenophile


A captivating and mysterious nocturnal species native to the woodlands and forests of Australia. With its distinctive habits and behaviors, this enigmatic bird offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricacies of avian ecology and adaptation.

During the daylight hours, Australian Owlet-nightjars can often be found nestled in the hollows of trees, where they rest and conserve their energy in preparation for their nocturnal activities. As dusk descends and darkness envelops the landscape, these birds awaken from their slumber and become active, venturing forth into the night in search of food and mates.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Australian Owlet-nightjars is their nesting behavior, which involves the construction of intricate nests using green leaves, such as those from eucalyptus trees. Within these cozy nests, the female owlet-nightjar lays a clutch of 3-4 eggs over the course of 1-2 days, diligently tending to them until they hatch into fledglings.

While Australian Owlet-nightjars are typically docile and non-aggressive birds, they display remarkable parental instincts and will fiercely defend their young from potential threats if necessary. This protective behavior underscores the importance of parental care in ensuring the survival of the species.

Interestingly, the behavior of Australian Owlet-nightjars is also influenced by environmental factors such as the phase of the moon. Studies have shown that these birds are most active during nights of a full moon compared to those of a new moon, with lunar cycles influencing their foraging and calling behaviors. Additionally, the risk of predation plays a crucial role in shaping their activity patterns, with higher predation risks observed during moonlit nights.


Population est.
Papua New Guinea

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic (size)

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No