Band-winged Nightjar Systellura longirostris

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic: 9 subspecies
  • Authors: Crestol, Sarah


The seasonality of breeding of Band-winged Nightjar varies across its wide distribution. Fledglings are reported from the Andes of Venezuela from March-July (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Nests with eggs are reported in Colombia at least from February-November (Darlington 1931, Hilty and Brown 1986). A nest with an egg in Ecuador was encountered in July (Kiff et al. 1989). Breeding in Chile is in November (Johnson 1967), and in Argentina is reported from October-December (de la Peña 1987, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Breeding in eastern Brazil is reported from September-November (Sick 1993, Hoffmann et al. 2010).

Band-winged Nightjar does not build a nest. The eggs are laid directly on the ground on bare dirt or rock (Johnson 1967, Kiff et al. 1989, Hoffmann et al. 2010) or on a rooftop (Sick 1983). Nest sites may be beside logs or at the base of a small cliff (Darlington 1931, Kiff et al. 1989).

The clutch size is 1-2. Single egg clutches are reported from Colombia (Sclater and Salvin 1879, Darlington 1931) and from Ecuador (Kiff et al. 1989); double egg clutches are reported from Chile (Johnson 1967, Kiff et al. 1989), Argentina (de la& Peña 1987), Brazil (Hoffmann et al. 2010), and apparently from Colombia (Todd and Carriker 1922). Egg shape is elliptical or subelliptical. Descriptions of the color of the eggs vary. The eggs usually are described as buff or cream and spotted (e.g, Kiff et al. 1989, Hoffmann et al. 2010), but Kiff et al. (1989) report an all white egg from Ecuador. Sclater and Salvin (1879) quote T.K. Salmon that in Colombia, egg color varies individually (assuming that all of these clutches are attributed correctly to Band-winged Nightjar): "some are quite white, others are pale red with small spots. At first I was inclined to think there were two species, as many of the birds differ considerably in appearance".

There is little information on the role of each sex in incubation and care of the young. Hoffman et al (2010). observed several brooding adults, but their sex remains unknown apart from one female. Hoffmann et al. (2010) recorded a female of nominate longirostris performing a broken wing display (opening wings and tail and flattening the body) in response to disturbance; this strategy of feigning of an injury may be a widespread reaction to predators in the species, as is common in Caprimulgidae.

There are no data on the lengths of incubation and fledging periods. Chicks are nearly undescribed, apart from the account of Hoffmann et al. (2010): chicks have black irides, whitish egg teeth, and are covered in buff down, except the back. They remain motionless when touched, but produce several low pitched calls.

Recommended Citation

Crestol, Sarah. 2015. Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura longirostris), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.