Short tailed Nighthawk (Lurocalis semitorquatus)

Short-tailed Nighthawk

[order] Caprimulgiformes | [family] Caprimulgidae | [latin] Lurocalis semitorquatus | [UK] Short-tailed Nighthawk | [FR] Engoulevent a queue courte | [DE] Bandernachtschwalbe | [ES] Chotacabra de Cola Corta | [IT] Caprimulgo-sparviero dal semicollare | [NL] Kortstaartnachtzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Lurocalis semitorquatus LA widespread
Lurocalis semitorquatus nattereri Amazonia south of the Amazon to n Argentina
Lurocalis semitorquatus noctivagus Costa Rica to nw Ecuador
Lurocalis semitorquatus schaeferi Aragua (n Venezuela)
Lurocalis semitorquatus semitorquatus n Colombia to the Guianas and n Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago
Lurocalis semitorquatus stonei se Mexico to ne Nicaragua

Physical charateristics

Very short, square tail; rather long, somewhat pointed wings. Blackish above, speckled with rufous; throat white, remaining underparts dark brown barred with black; tail dark brown; wings dark without white band. At rest, wings extend well beyond tail.

Listen to the sound of Short-tailed Nighthawk

[audio: Nighthawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 29 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 24 days fledging max.: 25 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Honduras to northern Argentina and southern Brazil.


Humid forest and forest edges in lowlands and foothills.


The species roosts by day high in forest trees, and unlike other species in the family, nests on horizontal limbs in the canopy. Nest site is near clearings, open woodland or roadsided forest. Clutch size is 1 egg, incubated for about 22 days. Young fledge after 22 days.

Feeding habits

The Short-tailed Nighthawk is crepuscular, usally feeding in and above the forest canopy, but sometimes coming lower out over clearings, roads, or rivers. Like all nightjars, Short-taileds eat insects captured in flight.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 8,400,000 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.
Short-tailed Nighthawk status Least Concern


Resident throughout range.

Distribution map

Short-tailed Nighthawk range map


Abstract: A nest of the Short-tailedN ighthawk, Lurocalis se..[more]..
Source: J. Field Ornithol., 66(1):30-36

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