Moult in adult Fiery-necked Nightjars Caprimulgus pectoralis ringed on Ranelia Farm, Cashel, Zimbabwe

  • HD Jackson 2–6 Beer Court, Kearneys Spring, Toowoomba QLD 4350, Australia


Nothing has been published on the moult of the Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis in Zimbabwe. However, most of the birds handled on Ranelia Farm, Cashel, during a study of nightjar breeding biology over four seasons, were examined for moult. Fiery-necked Nightjars were examined on over 70 occasions. Their annual moult occurs between late October and early March, commencing with the primaries, which moult descendantly. The secondaries, which moult ascendantly, follow after P5 has been shed, and so do the rectrices, which moult centrifugally, but R5 precedes R4. Body moult, which starts about the time that R1 is shed, progresses from the head across the neck to the rest of the dorsal plumage, and then over the throat and flanks to the ventral surface. The rictal bristles moult descendantly in time with the primaries. Several birds, some with primary moult scores as high as 18, had commenced moult while still tending young from the first brood, or incubating the eggs of a second, or replacement, clutch. The moult season overlaps the breeding season by about two months.

Ostrich 2007, 78(3): 573–576

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525