Scrub Nightjar Nyctidromus anthonyi
Version: 1.0 — Published September 23, 2011
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Priorities for Future Research
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Perhaps the highest priority is to assess the population trend of the Scrub Nightjar. Although a suggestion that the population is increasing, due to ongoing deforestation, is widely repeated, there is no quantified information on population trends in this species, or of the point at which habitat degradation would cause population declines rather than increases.
The reproductive biology of the Scrub Nightjar also is almost completely unknown. The reproductive patterns correlated with El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) patterns in addition to a detailed reproductive study of the nightjar would be important in clarifying whether the nightjar is a seasonal breeder in response to rainfall and if it is nomadic during periods of rain or drought. Seasonal rain patterns from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation and its effects on the reproductive status and population on the Scrub Nightjar have not been studied in detail.
An interesting, but perhaps difficult area for research concerns the ectoparasite load and grooming of the Scrub Nightjar. Dusting involves a behavior in which a bird will ruffle sand or fine dirt into its feathers has been suggested as a form of ectoparasite control. Caprimulgidae have been known to dust, but a formal study on ectoparasite load and dusting behavior has never been conducted (Moyer and Clayton 2004).
The presence of the pectinate claw on the middle toe of Caprimulgids have been described as an avian version of a human ‘louse comb’ in which its function has been hypothesized for use in ectoparasite control and to re-arrange the rictal bristles during grooming and (Cleere and Nurney 1998; Clayton et al. 2010). A formal study concerning the correlation of the pectinate comb and ectoparasite control in the Scrub Nightjar has never been documented.