Identification: Nightjars are long-winged, long-tailed, mottled brown-and-grey birds rarely seen by day. If you should flush one it can be told from a cuckoo or falcon by the way it invariably keeps its wings held up above the horizontal. In the early evening you may see the white spots near the wing tips and in the corners of the tail of the male.
Habitat: Breeds on moorland, heaths, dunes and young conifer plantations.
Distribution: A summer visitor between May-September, mainly on heathland. Widely distributed although very local in occurrence. The strongholds include Dorset, Hampshire, the south-east and Breckland. Best found churring at dusk when they can also often be seen hunting. Good sites include Roydon Common and Salthouse Heath in Norfolk, Mayday Farm in Suffolk, Beaulieu Road in Hampshire and Arne in Dorset.
Widespread, occurring wherever there is heathland in central and southern Europe. Easily located by their songs at dusk. One place where they are regularly seen perching in daylight is in the woods on the Camlica Hills (Istanbul), in late September
Population: 3 400 male birds recorded mainly in England and Wales. Less than 30 breeding pairs in Ireland.
224-264,000 breeding pairs across most of Europe with Belarus and Spain supporting the largest populations.