Rufous Nightjar (Caprimulgus rufus)

Rufous Nightjar

[order] Caprimulgiformes | [family] Caprimulgidae | [latin] Caprimulgus rufus | [UK] Rufous Nightjar | [FR] Engoulevent roux | [DE] Rostnachtschwalbe | [ES] Chotacabra Castana | [IT] Succiacapre rossiccio | [NL] Rosse Nachtzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Caprimulgus rufus LA widespread s from Costa Rica
Caprimulgus rufus minimus s Costa Rica to Colombia and Venezuela
Caprimulgus rufus otiosus St. Lucia (Lesser Antilles)
Caprimulgus rufus rufus s Venezuela, the Guianas and n Brazil
Caprimulgus rufus rutilus s Brazil and e Bolivia to ne Argentina
Caprimulgus rufus saltarius nw Argentina

Physical charateristics

Upperparts rufescent-brown, boradly streaked with blackish-brown. Buff collar not easy noticable, lesser coverts dark brown and buff speckled, rest of wing coverts rufescent-brown, barred brown, spcekled cinnamon. No white markings on wings. Male large white spot on outermost tail feathers. Bill dusky with blakish tip. Sexual slightly dimorphic.

Listen to the sound of Rufous Nightjar

[audio: Nightjar.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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size min.: 25 cm size max.: 30 cm
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Found patchily distributed in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Lucia,
Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. In Suriname found along Brokopondo Lake.


Fairly dry or semiopen humid forest,second growth woodland and borders


Nest site is on the ground often near a log. No nest is built, eggs are laid on ground or leaf litter. Clutch size 1-2 eggs incubated during the day by female.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects caught hawking or flycatching from low perches, mostly in forest interior.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 5,400,000 km2. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘frequent’ in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Rufous Nightjar status Least Concern


Probably resident throughout range. Subspecies C. r. rutilus might migrate North.

Distribution map

Rufous Nightjar range map


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