Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Near Threatened

Palau Nightjar (Caprimulgus phalaena)


French: Engoulevent des Palau German: Palaunachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras de Palaos

Caprimulgus phalæna

Hartlaub and Finsch

, 1872,

Palau Islands


Until recently considered conspecific with C. indicus and/or C. jotaka, being closer in geography and morphology to the latter, but differing in much smaller size, with wing mean 160·2 (n=6) vs 204·5 (n=10), effect size 7 (3); largely black vs buffy-rufous-and-dull-grey-barred underwing-coverts and undertail (2); rufous vs stony-white flecking and tinge on feathers of chin, throat, crown, scapulars, back and tail (2); proportionately smaller white marking in wing and on tail tip (ns[1]). Monotypic.


Palau Is.

Descriptive notes

21–23 cm. Previously treated as conspecific with C. indicus (no geographical overlap). Fairly small to medium-sized, greyish-brown nightjar with chestnut-brown on... read more


Reported variously in the literature as ‘an accelerating chuck-chuck [song] ... when... read more


Occurs in mangroves, edges of lowland forest or damp, shady forest.

Food and feeding

Almost nothing known. Diet reported as beetles, grasshoppers and other large insects (up to 2 cm), hawked in acrobatic flight or aerial... read more


Apparently nothing is known, though season reported as Apr–Aug in some literature.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Confined to the Palau Is (where known from at least Arakabesan, Babelthuap, Koror and Peleliu). No population... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Palau Nightjar (Caprimulgus phalaena). 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 21 January 2019).