Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura decussata)


French: Engoulevent de Tschudi German: Kleine Spiegelnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras ñañarca chico
Other common names: Tschudi's Nightjar

Caprimulgus decussatus


, 1844,



Until recently considered conspecific with S. longirostris, but differs in strongly divergent voice (a loud series of “cueeo” notes vs a series of high, thin slurred whistles#R, rather abruptly modulated in the pattern up-down-up “iiiiui”#R) (3); smaller size, with shorter wing, effect size 5.84 (score 3); males with narrower outer rectrices distally (apparently a previously unreported character, but perhaps proportionate to smaller size) (ns); paler overall coloration including greyer, less obviously vermiculated (as well as less black-marked) crown (2); white bar in wing of male narrower, white distal tips of tail extending less far up tail (1). Genetic position is still not completely resolved, it being part of a four-way polytomy, within which this species apparently forms a clade apart#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

W Peru and extreme N Chile (Arica and Tarapacá S to Quillagua)#R.

Descriptive notes

20–21 cm; male 28·5–35 g, female 32 g. A comparatively small and above all pale member of the S. longirostris species complex, most similar overall to S. l.... read more


The song is a loud series of well-defined, but slightly buzzy “cueeo” notes, to some extent... read more


Inhabits arid littoral and low foothills, in wooded edges and clearings, as well as more open... read more

Food and feeding

Nothing known.


Almost nothing is known, but the season is speculated to be at least Nov–Jan, although a hatching has been observed in N Chile in the first... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population size not quantified, but the species is generally considered to be not uncommon, and the population is suspected to... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Lesser Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura decussata). 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 January 2020).