Caprimulgus europaeus - sexing

European Nightjar / Nattskärra


After the pre-breeding moult, all birds can be sexed based on the presence on white on outer PP and RR. Females may show relatively large pale buff markings where males show a pure white speculum in wing and on tips of outer tail feathers. Birds with juvenile PP and RR are probably not possible to safely sex. However, Roselaar (in Cramp 1985) describes birds having small whitish markings on outer PP, where adult males are white, together with rather pale, unmarked tips of outer RR as males. We have recognised the pattern described but do not know if these characters have been firmly tested.
1cy September, sex unknown. Some individuals show whitish markings in outer PP where adult males have their white speculum. [4632312]
1cy September, sex unknown. Most individuals show small or no pale markings in outer PP. [4558347]
Male, 3cy+, May. Typical male pattern with white speculum of outer three PP. [4611689]
Male, 2cy+, September, illustrating variation in size of white speculum of outer three PP. [4610730]
Female, 2cy+, June. Typical female pattern with weak (barely any) speculum. [4610749]
Female, 2cy, May, showing variation in the pattern of the outer three PP. As seen here, females may show rather distinct and large (but never pure white) speculum. [4586316]
1cy, September, sex unknown. A bird showing heavily vermiculated outer RR with little or no unmarked pale tips. [4558347]
1cy, September, sex unknown. An example of a bird showing rather extensive and unmarked pale tips of outer RR. [4632312]
Male, 2cy+, May, showing typically large white tips of outer two RR. [4610730]
Female, 2cy, May. At most, females show large pale greyish-buff tips of outer two RR. Usually with some degree of grey vermiculation. [4610124]
More Caprimulgus europaeus:
Ageing autumn

Ageing spring
Ringers' DigiGuide main page
Ringers' DigiGuide is sponsored by:
[Not showing? Disable adblocker for this site.]

Ringers' DigiGuide - main page