Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

The Common Pauraque is the subject of an interesting tale in Costa Rica. Grandparents loved to tell kids that if they went outside home during the night, and followed the song of this bird, they would get lost. It might have been true, not because the bird loses people, but because people get lost if walking in dense forest during dark nights. So it seems the real reason the tale was told was to prevent kids from going outside in the night.

Regardless of whether the tale is true or not, the behavior of this nocturnal bird is pretty interesting. They roost by day, normally in the ground among dead leaves, which camouflage the birds very well; you normally can’t see the bird until it flies away, scared by your presence. The birds are active one hour before sunrise, and disappear once the sun is out. They are also out when the sun goes down and stay for about one hour. Yet during full moon, the birds stay out all night long, calling and flying around. They sit on the ground, and hop as they make their call. Their eyes reflect even the tiniest bit of light, so they can be detected from far away by their glowing eyes.


Photograph taken with Flash during the night in Rio Frio, Sarapiquí. Most natural light was gone already, only the lamps were giving some orange light by then

Common Pauraque eggs - Nyctidromus albicollis - Huevos de Cuyeo Común

This is the nest of the Common Pauraque, with two eggs that will transform in the next generation of birds

One thought on “Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

  1. Pingback: Cope Arte, La Unión de Guápiles | Chris Photography

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