Family Owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles albertisi)


French: Égothèle montagnard German: Bergschwalm Spanish: Egotelo montano

Ægotheles albertisi

P. L. Sclater

, 1874,

Hatam, Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


May be a sister-species of A. archboldi, replacing it at lower elevations. Recent molecular analysis suggested that race salvadorii is more closely related to A. archboldi, leading to its separation as a full species#R, but the split (although entirely plausible) was not advocated in the molecular study, authors of which “remain cautious about the phylogenic and taxonomic implications of these results”#R; more research required. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. albertisi P. L. Sclater, 1874 – Arfak Owlet-nightjar – Arfak Mts of Vogelkop, in NW New Guinea.
  • A. a. wondiwoi Mayr & Rand, 1936 – Mt Wondiwoi, in Wandammen Peninsula (S Geelvink Bay, in NW New Guinea).
  • A. a. salvadorii E. J. O. Hartert, 1892 – Mountain Owlet-nightjar – locally from Weyland Mts E to SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; 36–40 g. Variable, and can be virtually indistinguishable from A. archboldi. Likewise, has a rufous morph and a brown morph connected by... read more


    Call consists of 3 mournful whistles, each of them down­slurred or at constant pitch. Series of... read more


    Mostly forests on mountains, extending to forest edges, gardens and tree-fern savanna. Altitudinal... read more

    Food and feeding

    Gut contents of specimens and other data show that diet consists mainly of insects (mostly Coleoptera, also Lepidoptera, Diptera and... read more


    Few data on season; birds in breeding condition in Jun and Sept, eggs in Aug and Nov, and a nestling in Apr or May. Only 2 nests have been... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Race salvadorii is apparently common in at least parts of its range. The small numbers of specimens known for the other two subspecies may... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holyoak, D.T. (2020). Mountain Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles albertisi). 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 3 April 2020).