Birda Logo
loading...
A photo of a Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus)
Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Aegotheles cristatus

The Australian owlet-nightjar, known colloquially as the moth owl, is a nocturnal avian species with a small to medium build. It exhibits grey upperparts and a white, barred front, with a distinctive patterning of dark and pale on its head. In the northern reaches of Australia, the female may present a rufous morph, while desert populations tend to have paler plumage.

Identification Tips

To identify this species, look for its pointed wings and larger feet, which are adaptations for life in open woodlands. The contrasting head pattern and barred front are key visual markers. The rufous morph of the female is particularly notable in the northern areas.

Habitat

The Australian owlet-nightjar is well-adapted to a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, mangrove swamps, grasslands, mallee scrub, and dense forests. Its versatility is evident as it thrives across these diverse environments.

Distribution

This species is widespread across Australia and extends into southern New Guinea. It holds the title of the most common nocturnal bird on the Australian continent.

Behaviour

By night, the Australian owlet-nightjar is an agile hunter, diving from perches to snatch insects mid-air, off the ground, or from tree trunks and branches. It exhibits flycatcher-like behavior and is also known to feed on the wing. During daylight hours, it seeks refuge in tree hollows to evade predators and to avoid being harassed by diurnal birds.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Australian owlet-nightjar is predominantly insectivorous, with a preference for beetles, grasshoppers, and ants. Its hunting strategy is well-suited to capturing a variety of insect prey.

Breeding

Breeding pairs nest primarily in tree hollows, lining their nests with leaves, which may serve as an insecticide due to the presence of eucalyptus leaves. The female lays three to four eggs and incubates them for just under a month. Both parents are involved in feeding the chicks, which fledge after a month and remain close to the parents for several months thereafter.

Similar Species

While there are no specific similar species mentioned, the Australian owlet-nightjar can be distinguished from other nightjars by its habitat preferences and distinctive patterning.

Conservation status

The species is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that, despite facing predation and competition from introduced species, it is not considered to be at risk of extinction.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Australian Owlet-nightjars on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Owlet-nightjars

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Bryan C
Clean and easy to use
Really enjoying this app, it's clean and easy to use. I love the ease of being able to add those one-off birds without starting a whole checklist. I also like the social aspect, like the parts of my Facebook I like, without the ads and junk, just birds. Can't wait to see it become more populated.
Anonymous
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❀️
Emcil24
A Friendly Place
I love using the bird app, I have a pretty good knowledge of birds. But I do have some gaps in it, so it’s nice to have a safe space to check on a sighting to confirm the species. It’s really enjoyable and I love the badges you can collect. It’s like a real life PokΓ©mon go.
Emma L
App got me interested in birding!
Super friendly community <3 This app got me interested in birding! It teaches me cool stuff and its super friendly, and fun :) The species guide is really developing my knowledge, and i love seeing cool new birds from round the world!
JCBirding
Just what birding needs
We need more fun in birding, for years it has had a reputation for being up tight and stuffy and only perused by retirees and anoraks. Birda helps change that perception and firmly brings birding into the 21st century! Fun, interactive while still contributing to science and conservation. If you aren’t on it, why not??
Chudbond
Love Birda
I love this app. It really encourages you to log your sightings and the community is friendly and helpful.
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Carrie
Makes you want to spot birds more
I think this app is fun. It makes you want to spot birds more so I guess in a way it encourages you to get out and about instead of sitting in front of the TV.
Unbridled Discoveries
Great app for bird lovers
I love this app! It’s a wonderful way to track birding sessions, and also connect you with fellow birders. I also really like the unidentified bird section, it’s a great community tool to help figure out what a never-before-seen bird is!
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
Β© 2024 All rights reserved