Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)


French: Engoulevent pauraqué German: Pauraquenachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras pauraque
Other common names: Common Pauraque

Caprimulgus albicollis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Recent phylogenetic study showed this species to be sister to N. anthonyi#R. Race intercedens rather poorly differentiated, often synonymized with nominate. Similarly, insularis perhaps better subsumed within yucatanensis. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. a. insularis Nelson, 1898 – Tres Marías Is, off W Mexico.
  • N. a. merrilli Sennett, 1888 – extreme S USA (S Texas) and NE Mexico (S to C Tamaulipas).
  • N. a. yucatanensis Nelson, 1901 – W & E Mexico S to Belize and NC Guatemala.
  • N. a. intercedens Griscom, 1929 – S Guatemala S to Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • N. a. gilvus Bangs, 1902 – C Panama to N Colombia, perhaps to W Venezuela.
  • N. a. albicollis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – E & S Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, and N & NE Brazil; also (probably this race) E & S Colombia and Ecuador S to E Peru and N Bolivia.
  • N. a. derbyanus Gould, 1838 – C & S Brazil, E Bolivia, Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones to Entre Ríos).
  • Descriptive notes

    22–28 cm; male 44–87 g, female 43–90 g. Sexually dimorphic. At rest, wing-tips reach half-way along tail. Upperparts greyish-brown tinged rufous, mottled... read more


    Song of male is a variable, whistled “wheeow”, “who”, often preceded by... read more


    Mainly forested or wooded country: forest edges and clearings, open woodland, riparian woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes beetles, moths, butterflies, bugs, bees, wasps, antlions, ants and Orthoptera. Forages by making short sallies from ground,... read more


    Breeds Mar–Jul in Texas, late Mar to late Jun in Mexico, Feb–May in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, late Feb to Jun in Panama, Jan... read more


    Most populations appear to be largely sedentary. Race merrilli partially migratory,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Data from many regions surprisingly scarce, but considered fairly common to abundant throughout much of range, generally occurring in a variety of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis). 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 18 February 2020).