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Hydropsalis maculicaudus

Spot-tailed Nightjar

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: M. C. Arizmendi, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg

Caprimulgus maculicaudus

Careiro da Várzea, Amazonas, Brazil; 25 September 2010 © Anselmo d'Affonseca

Spot-tailed Nightjar is a local, enigmatic nightjar of open country. Its call, a two part tik-tseweet, is high, thin, insect like, and easily overlooked. Still, listening for this call is generally the best way to locate this species. It may also be flushed during the day from thick grass in its preferred habitats: grassland, savanna, pastures, second growth, and agricultural land. Like other Caprimulgus nightjars, it feeds on flying insects by sallying short distance from a perch on the ground, and nests directly on the ground. Spot-tailed Nightjar is resident locally in northern and central South America, and occurs as a breeding visitor in parts of southeastern Mexico and Central America.

Recommended Citation

M. C. Arizmendi, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg. 2013. Spot-tailed Nightjar (Hydropsalis maculicaudus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Complex Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Low, seasonally wet grassland
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:---
  • Nest Form:No Nest
  • Clutch: 1 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern