Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Nubian Nightjar (Caprimulgus nubicus)


French: Engoulevent de Nubie German: Nubischer Ziegenmelker Spanish: Chotacabras nubio

Caprimulgus nubicus

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,



Race tamaricis may represent a separate species#R#R; further study required. Socotra population, described as race jonesi, is considered inseparable from torridus#R; likewise, birds from desert regions in far S of range (S of Tsavo), formerly separated as race taruensis, are now included in torridus. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. tamaricis Tristram, 1864 – Israel and Jordan S to SW Saudi Arabia (including one record from Farasan Is) and SW & S Yemen; some winter in coastal Sudan and Eritrea to NW Somalia.
  • C. n. nubicus M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823 – C Sudan.
  • C. n. torridus E. L. Phillips, 1898 – C Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and possibly NE Uganda; Socotra.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–22 cm; male 46–56 g, female 49–69 g. Upperparts greyish or buffish, thinly streaked blackish-brown, with crown often heavily streaked or spotted rufous;... read more


    Song of male is a double-noted “ow-wow” or treble-noted “ow-wow-wow”, given from ground.


    Typically dry, sparsely vegetated wadis, acacia scrubland (often near water), tamarisk thickets,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes moths, grasshoppers and beetles. Forages by flitting about after prey, often hunting close to water. Also forages on ground,... read more


    Poorly known. Breeds Apr to perhaps Jul in Jordan and Israel, May (possibly) to Sept in Saudi Arabia (juvenile late Sept), Jun–Aug in... read more


    Poorly known. Nominate race probably sedentary. Middle Eastern race tamaricis ­... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in EC Sudan, C Ethiopia and N Somalia (Haud Plateau); widely distributed but uncommon and local in Kenya, where status... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Nubian Nightjar (Caprimulgus nubicus). 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 22 February 2020).