Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Jungle Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus)


French: Engoulevent de jungle German: Dschungelnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras de jungla
Other common names: Indian Jungle Nightjar, Indian Nightjar, Grey Nightjar (when lumped with C. jotaka and C. phalaena)

Caprimulgus indicus


, 1790,



Sometimes reckoned to be an eastern counterpart of C. europaeus. Commonly considered conspecific with C. jotaka and C. phalaena, but each differs substantially from the other. Race kelaarti treated as a synonym of nominate indicus by some authors#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. i. indicus Latham, 1790 – India S of Himalayas from E Rajasthan E to Bihar and Odisha and S through peninsula.
  • C. i. kelaarti Blyth, 1851 – Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–24 cm; male 60–108 g, female 65–92 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upper­parts greyish brown streaked blackish brown, broadly so on crown; indistinct... read more


    Song of male (given all night during breeding season) is a slow, evenly spaced, prolonged series of... read more


    Mainly forest, woods and wooded country, in open woodland, deciduous, pine and mixed bamboo forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on moths, beetles (including Melolonthinae), bugs (Hemiptera), flying ants, cicadas, grasshoppers, locusts and small wasps. Foraging... read more


    Breeds Feb–May (mainly Mar–Apr) in India, late Feb to Aug in S India, and Feb–Jul in Sri Lanka. Nest-site near or on rock... read more


    Poorly understood. Throughout much of range from Indian range, populations largely sedentary or... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in India, where resident in many regions, locally migratory in others; locally common in Sri Lanka (perhaps commoner in drier E). Adaptable,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Jungle Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus). 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 16 February 2020).