Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis lyra)


French: Engoulevent lyre German: Leierschwanz-Nachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras lira

Hydropsalis lyra


, 1850,

Bogotá, Colombia


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. l. lyra (Bonaparte, 1850) – Andes in W Venezuela (Mérida), W Colombia and Ecuador.
  • U. l. peruana (Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1906) – E slope of Andes from Peru (Amazonas) S to C Bolivia (W Santa Cruz).
  • U. l. argentina Olrog, 1975 – Andes in N Argentina (Jujuy), and possibly S Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–28 cm (excluding outer tail feathers of male, which reach 63·5–80 cm in length); 1 male 68·5 g, female 74–79 g. Sexually dimorphic.... read more


    Song of male is a series of rising “wéeou-tee” notes given from ground or near-... read more


    Typically, humid cloudforest or rainforest, in clearings, openings and glades and along forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet poorly studied, but probably feeds on insects including moths. Foraging methods not fully described. Forages by making short sallies... read more


    Little information. Breeds Jun–Aug and Dec in Colombia. A nest in NW Ecuador contained a chick in Aug; it was a simple circular area... read more


    None documented. Probably sedentary, although seasonal altitudinal movements strongly suspected in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Local in Colombia, where recorded on Andean slopes, generally between 800–2500 m, from Valle, Antioquia, S to Cauca and Huila,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis lyra). 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 30 March 2020).