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Definition of NIGHTJAR
: any of a family (Caprimulgidae) of medium-sized long-winged crepuscular or nocturnal birds (as the whip-poor-wills and nighthawks) having a short bill, short legs, and soft mottled plumage and feeding on insects which they catch on the wing —called also goatsucker
Any of about 60–70 species of birds (family Caprimulgidae) found almost worldwide in temperate to tropical regions. The name is sometimes applied to all birds in the order Caprimulgiformes. (The name goatsucker derives from an old belief that they sucked goat's milk at night.) Nightjars are gray, brown, or reddish brown. They eat flying insects at night. The common nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) has a flat head; wide, bristle-fringed mouth; large eyes; and soft plumage that results in noiseless flight. It is about 12 in. (30 cm) long. Its North American relatives include the nighthawk and whippoorwill.