Caprimulgiformes – Nightbirds & Hummingbirds
It’s “good night, sleep tight” just for a few of us, not these nightbirds!
Caprimulgiformes comprise several nocturnal bird families: the nightjars, Owlet-frogmouths, Potoots, Oilbirds and frogmouths, as well as the shining, sugar-fueled hummingbirds and the frequent-flyers Swifts.
Their primary food is insects, though some are carnivorous. They are easily recognizable thanks to some peculiar features – smallish birds with weak, short legs, vast mouths, and big eyes.
The sounds they produce can be pretty startling, rather strange, and even be found strangely beautiful to our ears. It has made us humans associate these wonderful birds with various feelings – from being in good spirits to being feared.
And for a good reason – the Oilbirds that possess the (superpower) of echolocation can fly about in complete darkness too!
Families in this order
They become active at night, hide in plain sight, and fool you in bright daylight
They wear a magical cloak that helps them hide in plain sight
The adaptations in their flight and skeletal muscles allow them to hover and show the unique aerial display of both forward and backward flight
They are not owls, nightjars, or frogmouth- representing the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover
These not-so-social birds have unique characteristics that distinguish them from true swifts
Spend 80% of their life flying in the air
These nocturnal insectivores can see even with their eyes shut, never letting their guard down
The main food item in the chick’s diet is palm fruit; due to this oily diet, they were once caught and boiled as lamp oil