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Chordeiles nacunda

Nacunda Nighthawk

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Shogren, Elsie

Podager nacunda

Parintins/AM, Brazil; 23 May 2010 © Anselmo d'Affonseca

The Nacunda Nighthawk is the largest species of nightjar in the Neotropics, and is one of the largest in the world. In addition to its large size, this species also is noteworthy for its partially diurnal habits. Though a capable aerial forager, the Nacunda Nighthawk spends a considerable amount of time on the ground; it has notably long tarsi for a nightjar, and is more likely than other species to be seen standing on the ground (rather than resting on the surface). The Nacunda Nighthawk is distributed throughout central and eastern South America where it can be found in savanna, grassland, river edges, and disturbed habitats, but is much less common in western Amazonia than elsewhere. Its very large size, large head, and pale body with highly contrasting black primaries make the Nacunda Nighthawk easy to identify.

Recommended Citation

Shogren, Elsie. 2011. Nacunda Nighthawk (Chordeiles nacunda), 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:Aerial
  • Foraging Behavior:Screen
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:---
  • Nest Form:Scrape
  • Clutch: 1 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern