Currently nine subspecies of Band-winged Nightjar are recognized (Dickinson and Remsen 2013). These represent at least three distinct vocal groups, and four-five genetic groups, strongly indicating that the current highly poltytypic Band-winged Nighjar represents anywhere from two to five distinct biological species (see also Systematics).
roraimae; described as Systellura ruficervix roraimae Chapman 1929; type locality Philipp Camp, 6000 feet [1828 m], Mt. Roraima, Venezuela
Restricted to the tepuis of southern Venezuela, and immediately adjacent Guyana (Braun et al. 2007); probably also occurs in adjacent northern Brazil.
Large and dark, with reduced white markings on the upperparts and breast. The white band across the primaries in the male is relatively narrow, and the white spot on the outermost rectrix of the male is reduced and confined to the inner web. The wings of the female often have little or no buff on the outer primaries and on the outer rectrices (Cleere 1998). Also has different vocalizations, and probably represents a separate biological species.
longirostris, described as Caprimulgus longirostris Bonaparte 1825; type locality South America
Occurs from northeastern Argentina and Uruguay north to eastern Brazil. Southern populations possibly migratory (Storer 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Cleere 1998).
See Detailed Description.
pedrolimai, described as Caprimulgus longirostris pedrolimai Grantsau 2008; type locality Fazenda Serra Branca, Município Jeremoabo, Bahia, Brazil
Occurs in northeastern Brazil (Bahia).
Much smaller than longirostris, and the plumage overall is much more reddish (Grantsau 2008).
ruficervix, described as Stenopsis ruficervix Sclater 1866; type locality Bogotá, Colombia, and Quito, Ecuador
Occurs in the Andes from western Venezuela south through Colombia and Ecuador to northernmost Peru (northern Cajamarca).
Darker and more heavily spotted than longirostris. Males have a narrower white band across the primaries (ca 5-10 mm wide) and smaller white spots on the outer rectrices (ca 30-40 mm). Some birds are more heavily spotted and ocellated tawny on the upperparts and wing coverts, giving them a rufous appearance (Cleere 1998). Genetically, is sister to roraimae (see Systematics); consequently, if roraimae is recognized as a separate species (on the basis of its different vocalizations), then ruficervix also should be elevated to species rank.
atripunctata, described as Systellura ruficervix atripunctata Chapman 1923; type locality Acobamba, 10,000 feet [= 3048 m], Junín, Peru
Occurs in the Andes of Peru (except the far north), Bolivia, and northern Chile.
Paler and grayer than ruficervix, and is more heavily ocellated with buff on the upperparts. The white band across the primaries is wider than in ruficervix (ca 10-15 mm) (Cleere 1998).
bifasciata, described as Caprimulgus bifasciatus Gould 1837; type locality not stated, but the type specimen is from Valparaiso, Chile
Occurs in Chile, from southern Antofagasta south at least to Aisén, and in western Argentina from Salta south to western Santa Cruz (Cleere 1998, Jaramillo 2003). Resident in most of its range, at least in Chile, but southern populations (north at least to Aisén), are migratory, moving north to northern Argentina and perhaps to Paraguay.
Paler than nominate longirostris, and larger than decussata. The white wing band of the male is relatively broad (ca 15 mm), and the white tail spots are large (ca 40-50 mm). Presumably intergrades with patagonica in the southeastern portion of its range (Cleere 1998).
mochaensis, described as Caprimulgus longirostris mochaensis Cleere 2006; type locality Isla Mocha, Chile
Known from Isla Mocha, Arauco, Chile, and Isla Ascención, Chiloé, Chile.
Larger and darker than bifasciata, "with a darker, more tawny-buff collar on the hindneck, broader, heavier crown streaking, and less buff on the belly and flanks" (Cleere 2008).
patagonica, described as Caprimulgus longirostris patagonicus Olrog 1962
Occurs in central and southern Argentina (Santa Fe and Córdoba south to Santa Cruz). The southern populations are migratory, moving north to northeastern Argentina (Formosa to Buenos Aires) (Cleere 1998).
A large bodied, small billed subspecies; similar to bifasciata but darker, the plumage dominated by black markings on a clear gray background (Cleere 1998). Holyoak (2001) suggests that the validity of this subspecies merits further investigation.
decussata; described as Caprimulgus decussatus Tschudi 1844; type locality Peru
Occurs on the coast of Peru and northern Chile.
The smallest and palest subspecies; the male also has the smallest white spots in the outer rectrices (ca 20-30 mm) (Cleere 1998). Also differs in vocalizations, and is highly divergent genetically from all other subspecies of Band-winged Nightjar (see Systematics).