Great Eared Nightjar: Discover the Fascinating Nocturnal Bird of Southeast Asia


Great Eared Nightjar: Discover the Fascinating Nocturnal Bird of Southeast Asia
Image credit: Venkata Shreeram Mallimadugula/Alamy Stock Photo


The Great Eared Nightjar, scientifically known as Lyncornis macrotis, is a captivating bird species that belongs to the family Caprimulgidae. This unique nocturnal bird can be found in the forests of Southeast Asia, including countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. With its distinct features and intriguing behaviors, the Great Eared Nightjar has become a subject of fascination for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Appearance and Features

The Great Eared Nightjar possesses an array of distinctive physical attributes that set it apart from other bird species. It has a medium-sized body, measuring approximately 27 centimeters in length, and a wingspan of around 50 centimeters. The plumage of this bird showcases various shades of brown and gray, allowing it to blend seamlessly with its surrounding environment.

One of the most striking features of the Great Eared Nightjar is its large eyes. These eyes, framed by conspicuous ear-like tufts of feathers, enable the bird to navigate through the darkness with remarkable precision. Additionally, the Great Eared Nightjar possesses a wide gape, contributing to its exceptional feeding capabilities.

Habitat and Distribution

Great Eared Nightjars are primarily found in the dense forests and woodlands of Southeast Asia. They have a preference for habitats with a mix of both primary and secondary forests. These birds can also be spotted in forest clearings, often perched on low branches or logs.

Their distribution spans across several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of Borneo. Within these regions, the Great Eared Nightjar is known to inhabit specific areas that provide suitable conditions for breeding and foraging.

Behavior and Diet

As a nocturnal bird, the Great Eared Nightjar displays fascinating behaviors that are adapted to its nighttime lifestyle. During the day, these birds rest on the forest floor, relying on their excellent camouflage to blend in with the leaf litter and fallen branches. This behavior helps them avoid detection by predators and ensures their survival.

When night falls, the Great Eared Nightjar becomes active and begins its search for food. They are insectivorous, with their diet primarily consisting of insects such as beetles, moths, and flying ants. With their large mouths, they can swiftly snatch prey from the air while in flight.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding among Great Eared Nightjars occurs during the warmer months of the year. The male birds engage in elaborate courtship displays, including vocalizations and aerial acrobatics, to attract females. Once a pair forms, they proceed to lay their eggs on the forest floor, usually hidden beneath vegetation or fallen leaves.

Both the male and female share the responsibility of incubating the eggs. The incubation period lasts for approximately 20 to 25 days. After hatching, the chicks remain in the nest for a few days before they start exploring their surroundings.

Conservation Status and Threats

The Great Eared Nightjar faces several threats to its survival and is classified as a species of "Least Concern" according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, habitat loss due to deforestation remains a significant concern. Clearing of forests for agriculture, logging, and human settlements poses a threat to the bird's habitat and overall population.

Efforts are being made to conserve the habitats of the Great Eared Nightjar and raise awareness about the importance of preserving these unique ecosystems.


The Great Eared Nightjar is a remarkable nocturnal bird species found in Southeast Asia. With its distinctive appearance, intriguing behaviors, and adaptability to the darkness, this bird has captured the interest of bird enthusiasts worldwide. By understanding and appreciating the Great Eared Nightjar, we can contribute to its conservation and ensure the continuation of its existence in the wild.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the lifespan of a Great Eared Nightjar?

Great Eared Nightjars have an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years in the wild.

2. Are Great Eared Nightjars strictly nocturnal?

Yes, Great Eared Nightjars are primarily active during the night and rest during the day.

3. How do Great Eared Nightjars communicate?

Great Eared Nightjars produce various vocalizations, including calls and distinctive churring sounds during courtship displays.

4. Are Great Eared Nightjars migratory?

No, Great Eared Nightjars are non-migratory birds and generally reside in their preferred habitats throughout the year.

5. Can the Great Eared Nightjar be kept as a pet?

No, it is not recommended to keep Great Eared Nightjars as pets. They are wild birds and require specific natural conditions for their well-being.

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