Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

Egyptian Nightjar

[order] CAPRIMULGIFORMES | [family] Caprimulgidae | [latin] Caprimulgus aegyptius | [UK] Egyptian Nightjar | [FR] Engoulevent du Sahara | [DE] Pharaonen-Ziegenmelker | [ES] Chotacabras Egipcio | [NL] Egyptische Nachtzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Caprimulgus aegyptius EU, AF nw AF to sc Asia e, c, w AF
Caprimulgus aegyptius aegyptius ne Egypt through Arabia to w China, w Pakistan and se Iran c Africa
Caprimulgus aegyptius saharae Morocco to w Egypt w Africa

Physical charateristics

Paler nigthjar, on the ground, it is sandy-color with paler feather edgings. 25 cm, 70-90 g, wingspan 60-63 cm.
Upperparts sandy-grey or greyish-buff, lightly spotted blackish-brown. Wing coverts sandy-grey , speckled and vermiculated brown and blackish brown and boldly spotted buff, no scapular pattern. Buffish-white submoustachial stripe and white throat patch. Underparts sandy-grey or greyish-buff spotted buff and barred brown
Iris dark brown, bill blackish or dark brown, legs and feet blackish, greyish or brownish.

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 27 cm
incubation min.: 18 days incubation max.: 19 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 19 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Eurasia, Africa : Northwest Africa to Southcentral Asia


Typically deserts and semi-deserts, often close to water. Also arid plains of sand or clay with scattered scrub and dry waste ground


Mar-Jun in Morocco, Apr-Jun in Algeria and Tunisia, and May in Turkmenistan. Nest site among stones, sheltered by small bushes, in open , or in depression in ground.
No nest, 1-2 eggs laid on ground. Incubation by female 18 days. Chick semi-precocial, covered in pale buff or sandy-buff down.

Feeding habits

Insectivorous, diet includes beetles, bugs, moths, crickets, ants, termites, grasshoppers and mosquitoes.
Forages low over ground near wells and bushes, over water and among livestock, also over cultivated land and towns. Drinks in flight, by dipping bill into surface of water. Small feeding flocks occasionally noted.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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 Egyptian Nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptius, is a medium-small nightjar which occurs in south west Asia and north Africa, and winters in tropical Africa. It is a late migrant, seldom appearing before the end of April or beginning of May. It is a rare visitor to Europe, but, remarkably, has twice occurred as far away as Great Britain.
Egyptian Nightjar status Least Concern


Nominate race migratory in much of range, partially sedentary in Egypt. Leaves breeding grounds by Sept and migrates on broad front, SE across Arabian Peninsula (Sept-Nov). Small numbers may overwinter in Arabia, but main wintering range in E Sahelian zone of Africa. Recorded NE & SE Egypt, C & NE Sudan (Oct-Mar), N & NE Chad, and NE Nigeria. Rarer n & c Ethiopia (Dec-Jan), NW Somalia (one Dec record), E Mali (Jan-Apr) and N Togo (possibly vagrant, May-Jun). Return movements late Feb to early Jun (mainly mid-Mar to mid-May). Race saharae migratory, leaving breeding grounds Sept-Oct and moving S & SW. Wintering range in W Africa, from Mauritania (Sept-Feb) and N Senegal (Dec-Feb) through C & SC Mali (Nov-Feb) to N Burkina Faso, SE Niger and NE Nigeria. Return movements Mar-Apr. Vagrants recorded in Britain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Sicily, Malta and Cyprus.

Distribution map

Egyptian Nightjar distribution range map

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