All four nightjar species resident in Peninsular Malaysia are vocally distinct, yet they remain little studied. Conventional field methods based on visual cues to study diurnal species may be impractical for nightjars. Alternatively, aural survey can potentially be applied on nightjars provided that individuality in their vocalisations can be proven. Our study aimed to determine the vocal individuality of the common, large-tailed nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) in oil palm smallholdings and an isolated forest patch located in Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. From the call recordings obtained from 22 individuals, results of the Kruskal-Wallis analysis revealed significant differences in all the nine vocal parameters (call length, interquartile range bandwidth, low, high, average, centre and peak frequencies as well as first and third quartile frequencies) measured among individual nightjars (p < 0.001) regardless of study sites. Discriminant Function Analysis showed that more than 94.5% of original grouped cases were correctly classified. This implied that the majority of vocalizations can be assigned to individual birds based on the parameters measured. This study demonstrated the occurrence of vocal individuality in the large-tailed nightjar and such a finding pertaining to distinct vocalisations at the individual level will compensate for the limited access to visual cues in field surveys, as with the case for all nocturnal birds.
Large-tailed nightjar, vocal individuality, vocalization, Discriminant Function Analysis, sonogram, Malaysia