Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus)


French: Engoulevent indien German: Hindunachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras hindú
Other common names: Indian Little Nightjar

Caprimulgus asiaticus


, 1790,

Bombay [Mumbai], India


In the past, sometimes considered conspecific with C. madagascariensis. Geographical variation somewhat confused and morphological differences of races to some extent unclear; species sometimes treated as monotypic#R. Proposed races gurgaoni (NW India) and siamensis (N Thailand) are here subsumed within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. asiaticus Latham, 1790 – SE Pakistan and India E to W Myanmar, N & S Thailand and S Indochina.
  • C. a. eidos J. L. Peters, 1940 – Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–24 cm; 40–46 g (unsexed). Sexually dimorphic. Upperparts greyish brown streaked blackish brown, crown broadly streaked blackish brown edged rufous; broad buff or... read more


    Song of male is a distinctive “chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-k-k-k-roo” that starts slowly before... read more


    Highly variable throughout range, but typically scrubland or wooded country. Light scrub jungle,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes moths, dung beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and bugs. During non-breeding season, also takes flowers of Euphorbia... read more


    Surprisingly poorly documented. Breeds from Apr in Pakistan, Feb–Sept (mainly Apr to perhaps May) in India, Jan–Oct (mainly Mar... read more


    Poorly known. Nominate race possibly sedentary, and also partially and locally migratory, e.g. in S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common and widespread throughout range. In S Pakistan, locally common in Thatta, Badin and Thar Parkar districts only; occurs in Khirtar... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus). 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).