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Band-winged Nightjar Systellura longirostris

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors: Sarah Crestol

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Across much of its range, the song of Band-winged Nightjar is a series of thin, high-pitched whistles. This song variously is described as "a high thin seeeeerp or seeEEEeert (emphasis varies), squeezed out, rising then downslurred in pitch" (Hilty 2003; subspecies ruficervix); as "a very high-pitched psee-yeet or psee-ee-eeyt" (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b; subspecies ruficervix); as "a series of high, thin slurred whistles: teeeEEEEuu" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010; subspecies ruficervix and atripunctata); as "a shrill but weak two-syllabled whistle, tse sweeet" (Jaramillo 2003; subspecies bifasciata); and as "a single, weak, very high-pitched plaintive whistle, repeated constantly: tseeooeet ... tseeooeet" (Belton 1984; subspecies longirostris).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

The song of subspecies roraimae of the tepuis is very different, and is a series of short, unmodulated, slightly rising whistles.

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

The song of subspecies decusatta, of the coastal lowlands of western Peru and northern Chile, also is very different: "a loud series of cueeo notes, reminiscent of [the songs of Common] Pauraque [Nyctidromus albicollis] and Scrub Nightjar [Nyctidromus anthonyi], but more monosyllabic" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

Other vocalizations of Band-winged Nightjar include "a high, thin chee-wit-chee-wit-chee-wit in flight" (Hilty 2003) and "a short, nasal tchree-ee" when flushed (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Chicks in the nest give "several low-pitched calls (fuil)" when touched (Hoffmann et al. 2010).

Audio recordings of vocalizations of Band-winged Nightjar can be heard at Macaulay Library, at xeno-canto, and at Internet Bird Collection.

Nonvocal Sounds

There is little information on nonvocal sounds produced by Band-winged Nightjar, other than the brief mention of this species having "wing whir and wing-clap displays" (Hilty 2003).

Recommended Citation

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