night·​jar | \ ˈnīt-ˌjär How to pronounce nightjar (audio) \

Definition of nightjar

: any of a family (Caprimulgidae) of medium-sized long-winged crepuscular or nocturnal birds (such 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

Examples of nightjar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The research group found that the cilia are notably absent from feathers of barn owls and nightjars, two species that stalk prey at night. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Winged “PigeonBot” Flies with Real Feathers," 10 Apr. 2020 On other hand, the lesser nighthawk is the most frequently seen nightjar, active at sunrise and sunset and during the night. Ernie Cowan,, "It takes patience to spot, photograph nighthawk after dark," 16 June 2017 Owls, of course, commonly feed at night, but there is another class of nocturnal birds known as nightjars that include the lesser and common nighthawks and poorwill. Ernie Cowan,, "It takes patience to spot, photograph nighthawk after dark," 16 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nightjar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nightjar

1630, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nightjar

night entry 1 + jar "discordant sound," derivative of jar entry 3 (alluding to the churring trill of the European nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus)

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Time Traveler for nightjar

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The first known use of nightjar was in 1630

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Cite this Entry

“Nightjar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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