Zambia: Kafue NP – Spectled Nightjar

As we were cruising the Kafue River, the guide pulled to one of the boulders on an island in the middle of the river and said “I’m gonna show you a bird that is not commonly seen”. We climbed out of the boat and onto the rock and stared at our feet where the bird was supposed to be – nothing there but the rock surface. “Look closer” the guide said. And then we saw the bird – a nightjar, absolutely perfectly camouflaged against the rock surface. Most likely this was a freckled nightjar. Nightjars are nocturnal and almost never seen during the day, when they camouflage themselves in plain sight against the rocks or flattened against the tree branches (actually this species specifically spends the day on the rocks, tolerating surface temperature of up to 60 Celsius for long periods of time). They hunt for flying insects at dusk and moonlit nights.