Pennant-winged Nightjar

Macrodipteryx vexillarius

This summer migrant to broadleaved woodland must be on most birder’s bucket lists. Thus, unexpectedly seeing this magnificent nightjar  must rate as one of my best birding moments.

In Febraury 2012, David Letsoalo and I spent a weekend birding in Northern Kruger. Given the time of year, I thought that there was little chance of seeing a pennant-winged, let alone a male with streamers. But on arrival at Punda Maria we heard from one of the top bird guides; Thomas, that they had seen the nightjars the weekend before and that two of the males still had their streamers. You can imagine our excitement as we set off on an early night drive to the well-known “pennant-winged” spot along the Mahonie Loop. We arrived just as the sun had dissapeared behind the horizon and started what turned out to be a nerve-racking wait.

After what seemed like an eternity, Thomas suddenly shouted and there they were flying above us; first a female and then a beautiful male with a superb set of streamers. What an amazing moment!


Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 28 October 2016 Pennant-winged Nightjar – male / Punda Maria, Northern Kruger National Park, South Africa / 05 February 2012 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016 Pennat-winged Nightjar / Dzanlanyama Forest, Malawi / 30 October 2016
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