General colour of the plumage ash-gray, variegated with black, browr, and ferruginous.
C. Europseus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. I. p. 436. Id. torn. III. p. 304. European Goat-sucker, Mont. Orn. Diet. Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 131. pl. 42*. Night-Jar, Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 302.
Entire length ten inches four lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) four lines and a half, (from the gape) one inch two lines; of the tarsus eight lines; of the tail four inches eight lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing seven inches nine lines: breadth, wings extended, twenty-two inches.
General colour of the plumage ash-gray, beautifully variegated with black, brown, ferruginous, and white, disposed in bars, spots and specks, of different shades and sizes: on the head, and down the middle of the back, some longitudinal black streaks: a little white on the throat, as well as beneath each eye: under parts in general yellowish brown, with transverse undulating lines of black: quills dusky, with ferruginous spots on their outer webs; the three first with also a large white patch on the inner web about midway: tail nearly square, yellowish gray, with transverse zigzag bars of black; the two outer feathers on each side tipped with white: bill and irides dusky: feet yellowish brown. The female wants the white spots on the tips of the quills and two outer tail-feathers. (Egg). Of an oval form: ground colour white, mottled with cinereous; this last colour including spots of two shades of brown: long, diam. one inch two lines; trans, diam. ten lines and a half.
One of our latest summer visitants, not appearing before the middle or end of May. Stays till September or October. Generally distributed over the kingdom, but not equally plentiful in all parts. Found principally in wild uncultivated districts, where there is wood. Habits crepuscular. Food insects; particularly the Melolontha tribe, and the larger Lepidoptera. Makes no nest, but lays two eggs on the bare ground amongst fern, heath, or long grass. During the season of incubation the male utters a peculiar noise somewhat resembling that of a spinning-wheel.