Australian Owlet-nightjar (aegotheles cristatus)

Australian Owlet-nightjar

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] aegothelidae | [latin] aegotheles cristatus | [UK] Australian Owlet-nightjar | [FR] aegothele huppe | [DE] Baumschwalm | [ES] Egotelo Australiano | [NL] Australische Dwergnachtzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Hemiprocne cristatus
Aegotheles cristatus
Aegotheles cristatus AU Australia, s New Guinea
Aegotheles cristatus cristatus se New Guinea and Australia
Aegotheles cristatus tasmanicus Tasmania

Physical charateristics

Upperparts are dark gray with pales lines and spots; underparts are paler with narrow brown lines. Sexes often similar but females vary between a gray morph and a rufous morph (with intermediates). The extreme rufous morph does not seem to occur in males, although intermediate males are known.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 21 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 27 days
fledging min.: 21 days fledging max.: 29 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 5  


Australasia : Australia, Tasmania, and southeastern New Guinea


Open forests, woodlands, scrub, and mangroves. Favours drier, more open woodland.


Australian owlet-nightjars sometimes nest in cavities of banks or buildings. Clutches are of one to five, slightly glossy, unmarked white eggs that, for unknown reasons, have unusually thick shells. Young hatch with white down which is replaced by a second coat of gray down before the juvenal feathers grow. Details of breeding are known only for the Australian species, in which incubation takes 25?27 days and is carried out at least mainly by the female, eggs hatch over several days, the young are fed by both parents, and fledging occurs after 21?32 days. No nest cleaning occurs so that droppings accumulate in the nest cavity.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly on insects, most of which are caught by sallying to ground from low perch. Also forages on ground for ants or other ground dwelling insects.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be widespread in Australia and moderately common over much of its range

Australian Owlet-nightjar status Least Concern


Presumably sedentary

Distribution map

Australian Owlet-nightjar distribution range map

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