Great-Eared Nightjar: A Bird That Looks Like A Baby Dragon!


If someone says they spotted a dragon up there in the sky, don’t panic, but don’t brush it off either. We bet you don’t want to miss out on sighting a little, fluffy and adorable dragon. But the dragon we are talking about today is a bird, and you can call it the Great-Eared Nightjar! The name is as mystical as the concept of dragons, isn’t it? These little guys are adorable and very pleasant to look at. They are very fluffy, cute and tiny, and if you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll remember it all your life.

Great-Eared Nightjar: A Bird That Looks Like A Baby Dragon!
via Wikimedia Commons, through Jason Thompson on Flickr

The great-eared nightjar is scientifically known as Lyncornis macrotis; it is a species in the family Caprimulgidae. Our fluffy dragon is the largest species of the nightjar family.

What exactly does the great-eared Nightjar look like?

The great-eared nightjar holds long barred wings, a barred tail and long ear-tufts. These birds have a white throat band, but do not have any white on their wings or tails. They are called little dragons because they have a golden plumage on top of their heads, sitting like ears. A tiny beak will be hidden under their fluffy and huge but cute and powerful eyes. Overall, the bird looks like a little dragon that’s gonna grow up to be a mighty and powerful one.

These great-eared nightjar can range from 31 to 41 cm(12 to 16 inches). The girls of this species are heavier than the boys, the former weighing around 151 grams or 5.3 oz, the latter averaging at 131 grams or 4.6 oz. 

nighthawk. The little dragon was first scientifically described by an Irish zoologist in 1831; he proposed it after spotting one of the birds in the Philippines. 

Where can you spot the great-eared nightjar?

These cute little great-eared nightjars can be found in Southeast Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. They usually live in subtropical or lowland moist tropical forests.

What makes the fluffy dragons so special?

Just like their family members, these great-eared nightjars too are only active at dusk and night. They make a very distinct sound to make a call that goes like a sharp stick, which is followed by a short pause and a two-syllable ba-haaww.  As a creature of the shadows, the great-eared nightjars possess a layer of tissue at the back of their eye known as tapetum lucidum. This tissue helps in getting a superior

night vision by reflecting visible light back through the retina.

Nesting and parenting 

Great-eared nightjars are not unusual in appearance alone; they also have an unusual trait when it comes to nesting. They build their nest from dead leaves, on the ground! This nest only plays home to a single egg, which the parents incubate by turns. The chick will be perfectly camouflaged, as the nest consists of shades like gray, black, brown and dark green – looking a lot like a forest ground. 

What do fluffy baby dragons eat?

Just like most nocturnal or crepuscular species, these nightjars feed on insects, beetles and moths. They love to munch on flies and mosquitoes, and will occasionally eat grasshoppers. 

The great-eared nightjar is neither vulnerable, nor endangered, so you can rest easy. They breed in January to May, and can be spotted all year round in subtropical and moist lowland tropical forests. If you do get to spot one of these guys and girls, we recommend taking a high-quality photograph and zooming in later to see exactly what you had your eyes on!

You’ll also love the parrot that looks like Dracula!


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