One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A nocturnal bird, which is sometimes identified as a night owl, night heron, or nightjar, and sometimes imagined as a distinct species.
Old English; earliest use found in Corpus Glossary. Cognate with or formed similarly to West Frisian nachtraven night heron, Middle Dutch nachtrāven, nachtrāve night owl, person active at night (Dutch nachtraaf person active at night, (regional) nightjar), Old Saxon nahthraƀan, nahthram night heron (Middle Low German nachtrāve nightbird, specifically night owl), Old High German nahtraban, nahtram, nahtrabo nightbird (Middle High German nahtraben, nahtrabe, German regional Nachtrabe nightjar), Old Icelandic nátthrafn nightbird, specifically nightjar, Norwegian natteramn nightjar, (Bokmål) nattravn nightjar, Swedish nattramm, † nattrafn nightjar, (obsolete) night owl, Danish natteravn person active at night, natravn nightjar from the Germanic base of night + the Germanic base of raven.
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