This rare nocturnal creature that can be found in parts of Southeast Asia looks like a fluffy little dragon, but in fact, it’s a bird.
The Caprimulgidae family of nocturnal birds includes the large eared nightjar (Lyncornis macrotis). Southwest India and Southeast Asia include forests, scrublands, and grasslands where they can be found. Based on a specimen discovered in the Philippines, an Irish biologist originally described the species in 1831.
But what truly enthralls people is that this bird resembles a dragon out of a fantasy film. This is mostly because of the little feather tufts on their heads that resemble miniature dragon horns.
Despite having dragon-like appearances, they grow to much smaller sizes. Great eared nightjars typically measure from 12.2-15.7 inches (31–40 cm) in length and weigh 4.4–5.3 oz (125–151 g). However, these birds are effective hunters with sturdy wings, exactly like their doppelgängers. Even when softly drifting through the air, they have been known to grab animals. Moths, termites, and beetles are the main insects they eat.
In addition to their distinctive appearance, they nest on the forest floor in an unusual method. They construct their ground nests, which fit in with the surrounding leaf litter, using dead leaves. Even their young are expertly concealed by the leaves.
They also have a very unusual call. They emit a resounding “bee-AHWEE.”
Fortunately, great eared nightjar numbers appear to be steady, and the species has received the designation of Least Concern from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So it’s entirely feasible to encounter one, but don’t anticipate it to breathe fire.