Catesby Volume I: The Goat-sucker of Carolina

Mark Catesby's Description of
The Goat-sucker of Carolina


The bird agrees with the description of that in Mr. Willoughby p. 107* of the same name, except that this is somewhat less. They are very numerous in Virginia and Carolina, and are called there East India Bats. In the evening they appear most, and especially in cloudy weather: before rain, the air is full of them, pursuing and dodging after Flies and Beetles. Their note is only a screep; but by their precipitating and swiftly mounting again to recover themselves from the ground, they make a hollow and surprising noise; which to Strangers is very observable, especially at dusk of the evening, when the cause is not to be seen. This noise is like that made by the wind blowing into a hollow vessel; wherefore I conceive it is occasion'd by their wide mount forcibly opposing the air, when they swiftly pursue and catch their prey which are Flies, Beetles, &tc.

They usually lay two eggs, like in shape, size and colour to those of Lapwings, and on the bare ground.

Its stomach was filled up with half-digested Scarabei, and other Insects; and amongst the remains there seemed to be the feet of the Grillotalpa, but so much consumed, that I could not be certain: they being both nocturnal Animals, make the probability the greater. They disappear in winter

The Grillotalpa is found both in Virginia and Carolina, in the like marshy ground as in England, and seems not to differ from ours.

*Reference to Francis Willoughby's book "Ornithology" printed in 1676 or 1678.