When a person thinks about birds, initially some birds flash into his mind like crows, macaws, peacocks, pigeons, etc. Do you know why these birds come into his mind? It is because these birds are common in our societies and nearby areas. There are also a few birds that exist in some specific areas, and most of the human population is unaware of those. The great-eared nightjar is also one of them because they exist in India and its nearby countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. This article will provide you with a piece of entire information about these birds, like their appearance, diet, habitat, and all an interested person would like to know, so stay connected till the end.

A little about the great eared nightjar bird

The great-eared nightjar is a small, beautiful, and a little bird weird in looks. Though, it is a unique bird from the nightjar species, it falls on the list of endangered species. As it is small, the great-eared nightjar does not possess any significant weight.

Moreover, it comprises of some unique traits, like good in predation and captures the prey with its silent arrival like eagles. On the other hand, victims come to know when they are in dungeon of of bird’s paws.

These birds are good at flying as they consist of significant feathers. They usually scream and the great-eared nightjar sound is very high. Talking about the history, their developing century is the initial years of the 19th century.

Read More: The Secret Life of Barn Owls: A Comprehensive Guide 

The appearance

If we talk about the appearance or outer look of the great or big eared nightjar, they look like small dragons, and that is why people call these birds “dragon bird nightjar.” When it comes to the great eared nightjar size, it is biggest among the entire nightjar family.

Moreover, the bird let the people feel that it has just come out of a fantasy movie. Mostly, these birds are seen in dark brown and black color having black crowns on their heads. They are not good in weight, as their maximum weight is 100-150 grams.

Comparing both genders, females are  large in size and fat than males, while their size range from 21 to 41cm. These birds have spots on the upper part of the body and on their crown too.

Other than great eared nightjar is there any bird that looks like dragon?

A creature known as “bearded dragon” also looks like a dragon. Though it is not a bird but a reptile.

A history tour of this bird

The history of this bird is older and an Irish zoologist described the first one in 1831 because of samples he collected from the neighborhood of Manila in the Philippines, and assigned them their name. The same bird was found in the Western Ghats in 1875. One of its signs came into sighting in the Himalayas in 1838 in China with the name of services.

Great eared nightjar habitat and distribution

When it comes to the distribution of these birds, they are commonly available in Western Asia, like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. Most of their population exists in India, and according to a few surveys, their presence in the world is not so minimal, so there are chances to encounter them.

If we talk about the habitation nature of the great-eared nightjars, they mostly prefer to live near the water and make their nest on the forest floor with leaves. They find leaf litter very secure for them and their babies. They usually come out at the disappearance of the sun and go back to their nest before sunrise.

Great Eared Nightjar Diet

Usually, there is a query in our minds “what does a nightjar eat?” Like other species of nightjars, the great-eared nightjar also likes to eat worms, termites, moths, beetles, and small insects. Their feathers are enormous, but they have small and weak legs, so their wings assist them in capturing prey. Their prey-capturing scenes are most visible on the grounds.

Like being a predator for many insects the birds are also prey to many. If we talk about the predators of these birds, there are many predators looking to kill and eat them. These predators include foxes, dogs, birds like crows, and eagles.

Great Eared Nightjar Lifespan 

The great eared nightjar lifespan depends on the area where they live. European long-eared nightjars are seen living their lives for just four years. In India and countries connected with it, the maximum age that comes into sighting is a little more than European birds. Nonetheless, the maximum age of a bird in the wild ever noted is a little over 12 years.

Breeding and the predation of great-eared nightjar

Too much data on the breeding of this bird is not available, but a few things known are that these birds lay a single egg at a time. They prefer their nest on the ground hidden in the leaf litter for breeding because they consider it the most secure place.

Great eared night jar pet
A man holds  a Great eared night jar in his hand.

You must have been thinking about a question for a long time “can you keep a great eared nightjar as a pet?” or have a query “Can I owe a great eared nightjar?” flashes into your mind. Simple answer for both questions is “no.” Keeping a Great Eared Nightjar as a pet is not a good idea.

While these birds have a unique appearance and interesting behaviors, they do not make good pets for everyone. First of all, they are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active at night when most people are asleep. Secondly, they require a lot of space, attention, and specialized care to thrive, and their specific dietary needs must be met.

Additionally, they are noisy creatures, making loud calls at night, which may not be ideal in apartment complexes or densely populated areas. Consider their needs and level of commitment before considering them as pets.

Great eared nightjar facts

  • They have feather tufts on their heads that resemble ears, which help them conceal from predators.
  • Eared Nightjars are nocturnal and feed on insects such as moths, beetles, and termites.
  • They use echolocation to find food, which means they generate noises that reflect off things and assist them locate prey.
  • Male Eared Nightjars have a unique flying performance in which they clap their wings to attract mates and show off to other males.


What does a nightjar sound like?

A nightjar makes a distinctive churring sound, similar to that of a spinning coin or a sewing machine. It is a characteristic and repeated sound that may be heard in many regions of the world at night. Moreover, the cry is sometimes characterized as a rhythmic “jar-jar-jar” or “quart-jar” sound.

Is a nightjar from the owl family?

Most people confuse nightjar with owls because of their nocturnal features. But they are not from the owl family. Owls are raptors while nightjars use their beak for hunting.

Does nightjar eat mosquitoes?

Yes, great-eared nightjar usually eats beetles, termites, and flying insects, including mosquitoes.

Do long eared nightjars exist commonly?

Experts list these birds as endangered birds, and they do not exist openly because of the loss of habitation.

Can nightjars see at night?

Nightjars have big eyes containing droplets of oil. It helps them to increase the visuals during the dark of the night.

When it is possible to hear the nightjar?

As we know that nightjars are inactive in the daytime, and come out in the night time. So, they are easy to hear as the sun disappears.

Are great eared nightjar endangered?

It is difficult to say about all species of the great nightjar birds, but two of its breeds are critically endangered; Jamaican poorwill and Puerto Rican nightjar.

How do great eared nightjar screams?

Amidst the nocturnal symphony, the Great Eared Nightjar screams “bee-AHWEE!” echoing through the forest’s moonlit shadows.


The great-eared nightjar is a nocturnal bird that remains silent in its nest for the whole day. It comes out in the dark to find food for itself and its babies. As it becomes dark, they also start singing with a loud sound. Moreover, they can watch in the dark because of their significant eyes and droplets of oil. According to the survey, the population of these birds is becoming lesser every day because of the elimination of its habitat by humans.

Hello, I am Matthew Isaac have a passion for birds and a wealth of knowledge in the field. As someone who has dedicated my career to working with birds, I am excited to share my expertise through my writing. My articles cover many birds related topics, including their behavior, biology, habitats, and conservation. Whether you are a seasoned bird watcher or just starting to explore the world of avian creatures, my articles will provide valuable insights and practical advice that will help you deepen your understanding and appreciation of birds. From bird identification and species-specific information to bird care and welfare, I am committed to sharing accurate, helpful, and engaging content that will inspire and inform readers from all backgrounds and levels of experience.