Family Owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae)

Critically Endangered

New Caledonian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles savesi)


French: Égothèle calédonien German: Schwarzrückenschwalm Spanish: Egotelo de Nueva Caledonia

Aegotheles savesi

E. L. Layard and E. L. C. Layard

, 1881,

Tongué, near Nouméa, New Caledonia


Affinities difficult to judge (only two specimens exist), but plumage pattern and broad tail feathers are at least suggestive that present species may be most closely related to A. cristatus and A. bennettii. Possibly intermediate between †A. novaezealandiae (apparently extinct since c. ad1200) and other members of family. Monotypic.


S New Caledonia. Not found in recent extensive surveys of appropriate habitat#R.

Descriptive notes

28 cm. A rather nondescript, dark-plumaged species known from a single specimen, an adult male. Entire plumage, including wings and tail, brown with narrow greyish-white... read more


Not described.


Recent record of bird in humid riverine forest at altitude of c. 1000 m; this individual was judged... read more

Food and feeding

Label of type specimen states “Food Coleoptera”, doubtless on the ­basis of its gut contents. Recent record of bird thought to be... read more


No information.


No information, but presumed to be sedentary.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in New Caledonia EBA. Known only from two specimens, a probable sighting in 1998 and a handful of unconfirmed reports... read more

Recommended citation

Holyoak, D.T. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). New Caledonian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles savesi). 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 24 February 2020).