Nacunda Nighthawk Chordeiles nacunda

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


Geographic Variation

Two subspecies usually are recognized. , P. n. nacunda and P. n. minor.  P. n. minor is described as smaller, shorter-winged and paler than the nominate race, with much smaller black markings on the crown and scapulars.

Podager nacunda minor: Occurs in northern Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and northern Brazil in Roraima and northern Pará (Peters 1940, Cleere 1998). Possibly is migratory, as suggested by sightings of flocks during September-late November and July-late October (Cleere 1998); but if so, then the destinations of these migrations are not known.

   Compared to nominate nacunda, is smaller (see Measurements). Also "shorter-winged and paler than the nominate [subspecies], with much smaller black markings on the crown and scapulars" (Cleere 1998).

Podager nacunda nacunda: Occurs from eastern Peru and Brazil south of the Amazon, east to Piauí and Bahia, and south to eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina (south to Córdoba and Buenos Aires); casual visitor south to Patagonia (Peters 1940, Cleere 1998). See Detailed Description.

Related Species

Traditionally the Nacunda Nighthawk has been classified in the monotypic genus Podager (e.g., Peters 1940, Cleere 1940). Han et al. (2010) conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the family Caprimulgidae, based on DNA sequence data from both mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and nuclear (c-myc and growth hormone) DNA sequences. Han et al. placed the Nacunda Nighthawk in a clade composed of the Chordeiles nighthawks, with Nacunda as sister to the Least Nighthawk (Chordeiles pusillus).

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.