Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Greater Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura longirostris)


French: Engoulevent à miroir German: Große Spiegelnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras ñañarca grande
Other common names: Band-winged Nightjar (when lumped with S. roraimae and S. decussata), Rufous-naped Nightjar (ruficervix)

Caprimulgus longirostris


, 1825,

South America


Until recently included S. roraimae and S. decussata as races but these forms differ from it markedly in vocalisations especially. Race ruficervix has sometimes been treated as a separate species and recently acquired genetic data have been used to support this treatment#R, but geographical variation in voice remains too poorly known to provide a clear picture of the relationships. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. l. ruficervix (P. L. Sclater, 1866) – N Colombia, NW & N Venezuela, and Andes from W Venezuela S to Ecuador and NW Peru (Cajamarca).
  • S. l. atripunctata Chapman, 1923 – Andes of NC & S Peru, C & SW Bolivia, N Chile (S to Antofagasta) and NW Argentina (Jujuy).
  • S. l. bifasciata (Gould, 1837) – Chile (S Antofagasta S to N Magallanes) and neighbouring W Argentina.
  • S. l. mochaensis (Cleere, 2006) – Mocha I and Ascención I, off SC Chile.
  • S. l. patagonica (Olrog, 1962) – C, E & S Argentina (Córdoba and Buenos Aires S to S Santa Cruz).
  • S. l. pedrolimae (Grantsau, 2008) – NE Bahia, in E Brazil.
  • S. l. longirostris Bonaparte, 1825 – E & SE Brazil (S from Espírito Santo) S possibly#R to Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–27 cm; male 36·8–63 g, ­female 32–71 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upper­parts greyish brown streaked blackish brown, or blackish brown mottled... read more


    Song of male is a repetitive, high-pitched whistle, “seeeeeert”, that can be quite... read more


    Typically inhabits forest edges, woodland borders, open woodland, clearings, arid bush and ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on moths, beetles and termites. Stomach contents of three specimens collected in E Brazil contained orthopterans, Hemiptera,... read more


    Possibly breeds Feb–Sept in W Venezuela, Mar–Nov in Colombia, up to and from late Jul in Ecuador, from Nov in Chile (perhaps... read more


    Poorly understood. Nominate race may be sedentary in N of range, migratory in S, as possibly this... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon migrant in parts of range, common breeding bird in many others. Range in E Brazil probably extends N to Bahia, Distrito... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Greater Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura longirostris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).