Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Benjamin Van Doren
  • © Wang Hc

Lyre-tailed Nightjar is unmistakable, with the males flaunting spectacular, pale-tipped tail streamers more than twice the bird’s body length. Uncommon and local in the Andes from Venezuela south to northwestern Argentina, this nightjar occupies gorges and most rocky cliffs, often near running water, at 2500-3000 m (and sometimes much lower). These birds roost on cliff faces and in caves, often concealed by hanging vegetation, using one roost for extended periods. Excluding the tail streamers, sexes are similar. A rufous collar extends across the nape, the scapulars are generally a pale, vermiculated gray, and the primaries solid black. Females are distinguished from female Swallow-tailed Nightjars (Uropsalis segmentata), which tend to be at higher elevations, by having a vermiculated black and gray crown (rather than a dark brown crown densely spotted with rufous) and a more prominent rufous nuchal collar. Male Lyre-tailed Nightjars forage and display nocturnally from the forest edge, with brief, fluttering sallies into the open, sometimes hovering.


© Ted Parker

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Van Doren, B. (2014). Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis lyra), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.