Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Nightjar (Nyctipolus hirundinaceus)


French: Engoulevent pygmée German: Spixnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras pigmeo

Caprimulgus hirundinaceus


, 1825,

River Solimões; error = Feira de Sant’Anna, Bahia, Brazil


Placement of this species in present genus tentative; study required. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. h. cearae (Cory, 1917) – NE Brazil from N Ceará S to extreme N Bahia.
  • N. h. hirundinaceus (Spix, 1825) – NE Brazil in S Piauí, Bahia (except extreme N) and Alagoas.
  • N. h. vielliardi (Ribon, 1995) – E Brazil in SE Minas Gerais and WC Espírito Santo.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–20 cm; 26 g (one male). Sexually dimorphic. Upperparts and wing-coverts greyish brown, densely speckled greyish white or tawny and buff; no scapular pattern and no... read more


    Song of male is a short, whistled “wheeo” or “wheo”, often preceded by 3... read more


    Typically woodland, but also cleared areas; roosts and nests in open gravelly stony areas (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Probably feeds on insects. Forages in open country but methods not described.


    Poorly documented. Breeding season apparently lengthy, since eggs or chicks recorded at least in Jan, Mar, May, Jun, Jul and Nov... read more


    None documented. All races possibly sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globaly threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in North-east Brazilian Caatinga EBA. Currently considered Near-threatened. Previously considered... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. & de Juana, E. (2020). Pygmy Nightjar (Nyctipolus hirundinaceus). 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 20 February 2020).