The disappearing Dead Sea has provided this rare bird species not seen in the region since 1947 with new nesting grounds
Feb 09, 2018 11:30 PM
In 2014, rangers from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority arrested a number of foreign workers at Kibbutz Beit Ha’arava, just north of the Dead Sea in the West Bank, on suspicions of illegal hunting. When the rangers reenacted the alleged crimes with the suspects, the kibbutz’s security coordinator told Erez Bruchi, one of the rangers, that the night before he had hit a bird with his car.
The dead animal was still stuck in the car’s grill and the security coordinator sent Bruchi a picture, which he sent out to birdwatchers for help. The identification turned out to be a big surprise. A number of birdwatchers raised the possibility that the bird was an Egyptian nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius), which is crepuscular – most active around nightfall and dawn. It feeds on insects and nests on the ground.
The last time an Egyptian nightjar was seen nesting in what is now Israel or the West Bank was 1947; since then it has occasionally been spotted in the far south in the Arava region and the resort city of Eilat.