American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various chiefly nocturnal, insectivorous birds of the family Caprimulgidae, which includes the nighthawk and the whippoorwill.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The European night-jar, Caprimulgus europœus: so called from tho vulgar notion that it sucks goats; by extension, any bird of the same genus, or of the family Caprimulgidœ. The above-named speeies is also called goat-owl, night-churr, churn-owl, fern-owl, and by other names. The best-known American goatsuckers are the whippoorwill. chuck-will's-widow, and night-hawk. The word was first a book-name, translating the Latin caprimulgus, itself a translation of the earlier Greek
αἰγοθήλας. Also called goat-milker. See Caprimulgidœ.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) One of several species of insectivorous birds, belonging to Caprimulgus and allied genera, esp. the European species (Caprimulgus Europæus); -- so called from the mistaken notion that it sucks goats. The European species is also
goat-milker, goat owl, goat chaffer, fern owl, night hawk, nightjar, night churr, churr-owl, gnat hawk, and dorhawk.
- n. mainly crepuscular or nocturnal nonpasserine birds with mottled greyish-brown plumage and large eyes; feed on insects
- goat + sucker (Wiktionary)
- Translation of Greek aigothēlas : aigo-, goat + -thēlas, sucker (from the belief that the bird sucked milk from goats). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“_)  The epithet _bald_, applied to this species, whose head is thickly covered with feathers, is equally improper and absurd with the titles goatsucker, kingsfisher, &c. bestowed on others, and seems to have been occasioned by the white appearance of the head, when contrasted with, the dark colour of the rest of the plumage.”
“The Nighthawk Chordeiles minoris not a hawk, of course-- it is a "goatsucker" or nightjar, a bird that flies through the night engulfing insects with its great maw like, as Libby says, a whale cruising through plankton.”
“Dad getting chased by goatsucker ruined the holidays 7,5”
“In honor of its first victims, the unseen monster was dubbed chupacabras -- the goatsucker.”
“Could this be the legendary “goatsucker”, scourge of livestock?”
“This led us to discuss the Spanish word of parallel construction, chotacabras or goatsucker.”
“Chotacabros" is the word for goatsucker the group of insect-eating birds under original discussion.”
“Actually related to whippoorwills, in the goatsucker family.”
“I got another specimen of the rare New Guinea kite (Henicopernis longicauda), a large new goatsucker (Podargus superciliaris), and a most curious ground-pigeon of an entirely new genus, and remarkable for its long and powerful bill.”
“The goatsucker hath sung his song, the shades lower of eventide,”
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Interesting blog entry here on naming U.S. birds.
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Looking for tweets for goatsucker.