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Nacunda Nighthawk Chordeiles nacunda

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Elsie Shogren


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Nacunda Nighthawk
eBird range map for Nacunda Nighthawk

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Occurs from northern Colombia, including the lower Magdalena valley, and eastern Colombia east to Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, and northern Brazil, south to eastern Peru, Brazil east to Piauí and Bahia and south to Rio Grande do Sul), Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern and central Argentina. Casual visitor to Pagatonia.

Presumably sedentary in most of its range, but vacates at least some areas in the south of the range; e.g., absent from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil from mid-August to mid-May (Belton 1984) and in Uruguay from September-April (Gore and Gepp 1978). Believed to be only an austral migrant in eastern Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2007). Abundance also varies seasonally in Colombia and in Venezuela, which is interpreted as an indication that these regions are visited by austral migrants from the southern, partially migratory subspecies nacunda (Hilty and Brown 1986, Hilty 2003).

The elevational range is from the lowlands up to 1400 m (Parker et al. 1996). More common in the lowlands, however; the upper elevational limit in Colombia is 500 m (Hilty and Brown 1986), and is only 900 m in Venezuela (Hilty 2003).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Open habitats, in "dry to humid regions" (Hilty 2003). "Hunts over marshes, reservoirs, open country, cities; rests on rocky outcroppings in grassland" (Belton 1984). "Prefers savannas and grasslands" (Cleere 1998). 

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

No information.

Recommended Citation

Shogren, E. (2011). Nacunda Nighthawk (Chordeiles nacunda), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.