Distribution in the Americas
Cayenne Nightjar is known with certainty only from a single specimen, taken by the veteran collector Samuel M. Klages on 24 April 1917 at Tamanoir, French Guiana. This locality (at 05º09'N, 53º45'W) is on the Mana River, ca 10 km upstream from its confluence with the Cockioco (Kokioko) River (Ingels and Pelletier 2001).
A nightjar that may have been a female Cayenne Nightjar was caught by hand on 12 September 1982 near Saul, French Guiana (03º35'N, 53º12'W) (Collar et al. 1992, Ingels and Pelletier 2001). This bird apparently was not photographed, however, and so this record remains unconfirmed. Other sightings occurred an hour's walk from Saul in October and November 1999 (Ingels and Pelletier 2001).
The habitat of Cayenne Nightjar is not known with any certainty. Several specimens of Blackish Nightjar (Nyctipolus nigrescens) were collected at the same locality as the holotype (and only known specimen) of Cayenne Nightjar (Ingels and Pelletier 2001). Blackish Nightjar usually is closely associated with rocky outcroppings in humid lowland forest, often along rivers. It is not known whether Cayenne Nightjar is associated with the same habitat; it has been speculated that Cayenne Nightjar occupies small openings, such as tree fall gaps and clearings, in humid lowland forest (Ingels and Pelletier 2001). If so, however, then this still does not explain why this species appears to have such a restricted geographic distribution.