Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)


French: Engoulevent à collier roux German: Rothals-Ziegenmelker Spanish: Chotacabras cuellirrojo

Caprimulgus ruficollis


, 1820,

Algeciras, Spain


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. ruficollis Temminck, 1820 – Spain, Portugal and N Morocco.
  • C. r. desertorum Erlanger, 1899 – NE Morocco, N Algeria (S to Great Atlas Mts) and N Tunisia.
  • Winters mainly in W Africa.

    Descriptive notes

    30–32 cm; male 70–102 g, female 81–86 g, unsexed 60–119 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upperparts greyish brown streaked blackish brown; broad buff or tawny-... read more


    Song of male (given mainly, almost exclusively, in breeding season, and usually starting c. 30... read more


    Typically lowlands and hillsides, with scattered vegetation and bare ground, in pine woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes both flying and flightless insects, including moths, moth larvae, locusts and locust nymphs, mosquitoes, flies, grasshoppers... read more


    Breeds early May to late Aug in Spain and Portugal, and mid-May to Aug in C Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Possibly double-brooded. Probably... read more


    Migratory. Nominate race leaves breeding grounds by late Oct or Nov. Regular ­autumn migrant... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Reasonably common in Spain with 100,000–131,000 breeding pairs, range and population levels apparently not declining; locally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (2020). Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis). 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 26 February 2020).