White tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus cayennensis)

White-tailed Nightjar

[order] Caprimulgiformes | [family] Caprimulgidae | [latin] Caprimulgus cayennensis | [UK] White-tailed Nightjar | [FR] Engoulevent core | [DE] Weissschwanz-Nachtschwalbe | [ES] Chotacabras Coliblanco | [IT] Succiacapre della Cayenna | [NL] Witstaartnachtzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Caprimulgus cayennensis LA Costa Rica through n SA
Caprimulgus cayennensis albicauda Costa Rica to n Colombia
Caprimulgus cayennensis apertus w Colombia, n Ecuador
Caprimulgus cayennensis cayennensis e Colombia through Venezuela and the Guianas to n Brazil
Caprimulgus cayennensis insularis ne Colombia and n Venezuela, nearby islands
Caprimulgus cayennensis leopetes Trinidad and Tobago
Caprimulgus cayennensis manati Martinique (Lesser Antilles)

Physical charateristics

Upperparts grey-brown with black-brown streaks. Broad buff collar; wings grey-brown densely spotted white and buff. Male has a thin white line across forewing, a large white throat patch; buff breast with dense white spots. Male shows white bar across outer wing primaries and a largely whitish brown tail. Female lacks white on wings and tail. Bill, legs and feet blackish.

Listen to the sound of White-tailed Nightjar

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/White-tailed Nightjar.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Outer North of South America from Colombia, via venezuela and Guianas to Northern Brazil.


Open grassland and savanna with scattered vegetation. Also scrubland, forest edges and along open man made structures like airstrips.


Nest site in rough grass, vegetated gravel, sandy grounds and bare stony ground with vegetation nearby. No nest is made, 1-2 egs are laid on ground and incubated by female during the day. If adult is flushed from nest it displays injury-feigning distraction.

Feeding habits

Mainly insects like beetles, grasshoppers and moths. Forages by short sallies, flying low over vegtation or between animals like cattle.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 1,500,000 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.
White-tailed Nightjar status Least Concern


Sedentary throughout range, but vagrancy has been reported in Puerto Rico.

Distribution map

White-tailed Nightjar range map


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *