Definition of goatsucker in US English:



  • another term for nightjar
    • ‘The goatsucker is in the nightjar family, the members of which sometimes are called nighthawks (although they're closely related to owls, not hawks).’
    • ‘Sightings and tales of the goatsucker increase daily with - to Mr. Soto's visible discomfort - no end in sight.’
    • ‘The best time of the year to census goatsuckers is early in the breeding season when birds are most vocal.’
    • ‘Birds in this family are also known, unflatteringly, as oilbirds, frogmouths, and goatsuckers, the last based on an old myth that these birds use their expansive maws to steal milk from goats.’
    • ‘They belong to a group of birds called goatsuckers or also known as nightjars for their nighttime singing.’


Early 17th century: so named because the bird was thought to suck goats' udders.