Nightjar, and the song of the nightingale

Fiery-necked Nightjar

Fiery-necked Nightjar, Mpumalanga

Research for a story can take you back to your very own country, to the things that make noises at night in Eastern.  I found this Fiery-Necked Nightjar, and it reminded me of such a nightjar that a friend of ours, a wildlife vet, was nursing back to health at some point.  The little bird looks like nothing much and mostly kept quiet, probably intimidated by the presence of humans, but here’s what they sound like:


Of course in Mpumalangain the forests near Sabie, where this particular scene is set, you’ll mostly hear the cicadas – small brown insects that hide against the stems of trees and can blast your ears off your head with their “chirrring” noise if you happen to be right next to them.

The relative of the nightjar, the European nightingale, sounds different.


(Sorry, as the above link is not a youtube vid, it won’t embed.  Just click for a listen.)


This has inspired many artists and musicians, last not least Sarasate who wrote a piece for violin…  listen to this rendition, you forget that it is an instrument, it really starts sounding like a bird…



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5 thoughts on “Nightjar, and the song of the nightingale

    • hehehe! Nicely observed! That piece is unplayable for mere mortals. The violinist on this Youtube snatch is Martha Abraham. Of course Sarasate didn’t exactly write his pieces with any violinist other than himself in mind…

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