Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Little Nightjar (Setopagis parvula)


French: Engoulevent des bois German: Zwergnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras chico

Caprimulgus parvulus


, 1837,

near Santa Fe, River Paraná, Argentina


Formerly considered conspecific with Nyctidromus anthonyi, but differs in vocalizations; and until recently with S. heterura. Genetic data offer reasonable support for the latter split, as heterura and parvula differ by 5% in mtDNA#R. Monotypic.


NE Bolivia E through Brazil (S of Amazon) and S to N Argentina and Uruguay; status uncertain in E Peru#R.

Descriptive notes

19–21 cm; male 25–42 g, female 30·6–46·5 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upper­parts greyish brown streaked blackish brown, broadly so on crown;... read more


Song of male is a distinctive, warbled “dop, dro-dro-dro-dro-dro” with timbre of... read more


Varied, including open woodland and forest, lightly wooded terrain, savanna, thickets, open bush... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on moths and beetles, with stomach contents in N Brazil recorded as Homoptera (including Jassoidea), Hemiptera (Pentatomidae,... read more


Poorly documented. Nests at various stages in Aug in NE Bolivia, Oct–Nov in Paraguay, Nov in Uruguay, from mid Sept in C & SE... read more


Nominate race possibly sedentary and partly migratory, though movements poorly understood. Occurs... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Published data on status rather scarce, but in many regions often common to abundant in suitable habitat. In Brazil, common Apr... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N., Kirwan, G.M., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Little Nightjar (Setopagis parvula). 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 19 November 2019).