Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Least Nighthawk (Chordeiles pusillus)


French: Engoulevent nain German: Gnomennachtschwalbe Spanish: Añapero menudo

Chordeiles ? pusillus


, 1861,



Genetic data indicate that this species is sister to C. nacunda#R. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. septentrionalis (Hellmayr, 1908) – E Colombia E to W Suriname and N Brazil.
  • C. p. esmeraldae J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1947 – SE Colombia, S Venezuela and extreme NW Brazil.
  • C. p. xerophilus Dickerman, 1988 – extreme NE Brazil (Paraíba, Pernambuco).
  • C. p. novaesi Dickerman, 1988 – NE Brazil (Maranhão, Piauí).
  • C. p. pusillus Gould, 1861 – E Brazil (Tocantins, Bahia, Goiás).
  • C. p. saturatus Pinto & Camargo, 1957 – WC Brazil (SE Amazonas, SW Pará and W Mato Grosso) and extreme E Bolivia.
  • Also (race unknown) in extreme NE Argentina; and recorded in extreme SE Brazil (extreme S Rio Grande do Sul)#R.

    Descriptive notes

    15–19 cm; one female 33·4 g. Sexually dimorphic, though not greatly so. Upperparts generally brownish, spotted greyish white, buff and pale tawny, no nuchal... read more


    Song of male is a melodious, accelerating, trill, “k-k-k-k-kuree”, rising in pitch and... read more


    Usually open savanna and grassland with scattered trees and scrub, occurring in both cerrado... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on insects. Catches prey in flight, though precise foraging methods not documented. Occurs in loose flocks of up to c. 20 individuals... read more


    Poorly known. Breeds from Jan in Colombia, possibly Oct in S Venezuela (where evidence of nesting also in Jan and Jun), S Guyana (where... read more


    Poorly known. Although some populations may be largely sedentary, race esmeraldae known to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to abundant in suitable habitat throughout much of range, though status in many regions poorly documented. Long... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Least Nighthawk (Chordeiles pusillus). 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 22 February 2020).