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Monday, July 25, 2011

About the St.Lucia Nightjar (Caprimulgus rufus otiosus)

Author: Jeannette Victor & Khervelle Pamphile

Jacques-pas-papa-pouw, Jacques-pas-papa-pouw with the last syllable being highlighted is the call of a nocturnal bird that is endemic subspecies to St.Lucia and referred to locally by its call.

St.Lucia Nightjar bears the scientific name of Caprimulgus rufus otiosus and is quite active during the night hence the name Nightjar.  A small medium-sized bird attaining the length of 28 cm (11 in) is dark-brown with some reddish-brown edges on its feathers, short rounded wings and a white throat band.

The Nightjar is often heard calling at dusk during the breeding season; May and June.  In the breeding season two white eggs with light brown spots is laid in a scrape on the ground which is considered to be its nest. 

They occur from the north-east coast; Grande-Anse south to Dennery and also Anse-La-Raye where they feed on insects.  The Nightjar is an endangered species due to the fact that they are faced with lots of threats. Those threats include loss of habitat, dogs, cats, mongooses and pigs being predators because they nest on the ground.

We may turn a blind eye when it comes to protecting our species, but did you know that they are protected by other species of the animal kingdom?  Yes indeed!  The areas where the Nightjar is found has a high concentration of the only poisonous snake in St.Lucia; Fer-de-Lance.  This conservation is a blessing that we should appreciate because what is done to nature is done to us all!