Moult and ectoparasites of nightjars collected during two January expeditions across Zimbabwe

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


A collection of 96 nightjars, representing six species, were taken in Zimbabwe during the first half of January, which is a major part of their post-breeding moult period, to provide extensive data on their patterns and sequences of moult. It was confirmed that primary moult is descendant, secondary moult is centripetal and rectrix moult is centrifugal, with R5 preceding R4. The secondary series were found to converge on the diastataxy between S4 and S5 in at least three species, suggesting that this may be the standard pattern in the Caprimulgidae. The males of one species may be exceptional in converging on S7–S8, rather than on the S4–S5 diastataxy. Nightjars in the lowveld moulted later than those in the middleveld, females later than males, immatures later than adults, and residents later than migrants. Plumage change due to abrasion was noted in one species. Ectoparasites, including hippoboscid and simuliid flies, philopterid chewing lice, and trombiculid mites, were found on many of the nightjars.

Ostrich 2008, 79(1): 91–100

Journal Identifiers

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