Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Nightjar (Caprimulgus madagascariensis)


French: Engoulevent malgache German: Madagaskarnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras malgache

Caprimulgus Madagascariensis


, 1840,

Sainte Marie, Madagascar


In the past, sometimes considered conspecific with C. asiaticus. Racial differences uncertain; form aldabrensis sometimes considered doubtfully distinct#R, and species may be better considered monotypic. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. aldabrensis Ridgway, 1894 – Aldabra.
  • C. m. madagascariensis Sganzin, 1840 – Madagascar (including Nosy Boraha).
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; male 37–43 g, female 45–51 g, unsexed 43–44 g. Sexually di­morphic. Upperparts greyish-brown streaked blackish-brown, generally no... read more


    Song of male is a repetitive “tuk-tr-tr-tr-tr-tr”; occasionally gives “cop, cop, cop” notes, a soft... read more


    All types of open or lightly wooded country: woodland, including partially or totally degraded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on grasshoppers, moths, cicadas and beetles. Forages by hawking around treetops, in open country or over water. When hunting,... read more


    Breeds Aug to perhaps Oct in SW Madagascar, Oct–Nov in N Madagascar, and Sept–Dec on Aldabra. No nest, eggs laid usually on... read more


    None documented. Probably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread throughout Madagascar, especially in E; in some regions in SE, vocalizations suggest densities of up to 6 birds per 0·5... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Madagascar Nightjar (Caprimulgus madagascariensis). 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 February 2020).