Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Jerdon's Nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis)


French: Engoulevent de Jerdon German: Maharadschanachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras marajá

Caprimulgus atripennis


, 1845,

Eastern Ghats, India


Closely related to C. macrurus, C. andamanicus, C. manillensis and C. celebensis, and all five were formerly considered conspecific. Subspecies aequabilis occasionally synonymized with nominate#R. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. atripennis Jerdon, 1845 – peninsular India in Western Ghats (Goa S to Kerala) and Eastern Ghats (Odisha S to Tamil Nadu).
  • C. a. aequabilis Ripley, 1945 – Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    25·5–27 cm; 1 male 55 g. Sexually dimorphic. Crown greyish-brown, central feathers boldly but sparsely spotted or streaked blackish-brown; rest of upperparts... read more


    Song of male is a repetitive, liquid “ow-r-r-r-r”, often preceded by low “grog” sounds; sings from... read more


    Mainly forest, woods and forested country: evergreen forest, moist deciduous forest, dry forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly documented. Feeds on insects, especially beetles, moths and termites. Forages in powerful, swooping flight, interspersed with... read more


    Poorly studied. Breeds Mar–Jul (mainly Mar–Apr) in India, Feb–May and Aug–Sept in Sri Lanka. No nest, eggs laid... read more


    None documented. Sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reported to be reasonably common throughout its range, although details lacking. Occurs in several protected areas, including Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarhole... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Jerdon's Nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis). 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 25 February 2020).