The tyre nightjar

Jaime Culebras's Image

Jaime was looking for snakes when he stumbled across this nightjar, its mottled feathers mimicking the truck’s colours. The next night, he set up his camera and waited for the bird to return for its post-hunt snooze. ‘I was sure it wouldn’t come,’ he explains, ‘but finally, after hours, it arrived and I was able to capture that beautiful moment.’

The cryptic plumage of these birds makes it difficult to distinguish between species and consequently, new species of nightjars are still being discovered. Their colouring is a creative camouflage and allows them to blend into leaf litter (or the mud and treads of a car tyre) while sleeping and nesting.

Behind the lens

Jaime Culebras

Jaime Culebras


Jaime has a bachelor's in biology, an MSc in environmental education and an MSc in biodiversity and conservation of tropical areas. He has been living in Ecuador for over nine years, where he works as a reptile and amphibian researcher and nature photographer. He has won numerous photography and conservation awards.

Image details

  • Canon 6D
  • 17–40mm f4 lens at 17mm
  • 1/60 sec at f10  •   ISO 640  •   two Yongnuo Speedlite flashes  •   softbox  •   Manfrotto tripod
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