Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Short-tailed Nighthawk (Lurocalis semitorquatus)


French: Engoulevent à queue courte German: Bändernachtschwalbe Spanish: Añapero colicorto
Other common names: Semi-collared Nighthawk, Chestnut-banded Nighthawk (nattereri)

Caprimulgus semitorquatus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Formerly considered conspecific with L. rufiventris, to which probably closely related. Race nattereri often considered a separate species, but vocalizations appear not to differ from those of other races and alleged difference in underpart plumage is not constant, but subject to individual variation#R. Described race noctivagus (Costa Rica and Panama S to coastal W Colombia and NW Ecuador) appears indistinguishable from stonei#R, with which therefore synonymized. Trinidad and Tobago population possibly represents an additional, undescribed race; further study required. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. s. stonei Huber, 1923 – SE Mexico S through NE Guatemala and N Honduras to NE Nicaragua, E & SW Costa Rica and S to coastal W Colombia and NW Ecuador.
  • L. s. semitorquatus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Colombia and W & S Venezuela E through the Guianas, and extreme NW Brazil; probably this race in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • L. s. schaeferi Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952 – N Venezuela (Aragua).
  • L. s. nattereri (Temminck, 1822) – E Ecuador, N & E Peru and Brazil S of R Amazon S to N & E Bolivia and N & NE Argentina (Salta, Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    19–29 cm; male 82–89 g, female 79–81 g. Sexes similar; wing-tips project well beyond tip of tail. Upperparts dark brown, speckled and spotted rufous and... read more


    Call is a repetitive, wader-like whistle, “too-it” or “to-ic”, given in... read more


    Typically forested, wooded or partly wooded lowlands: rainforest, humid forest, forested foothills... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on moths, beetles, bugs and other insects. Forages in flight.


    Breeds late Jan to early Apr in Panama, possibly May–Jun in Venezuela, Oct–Dec in Brazil, and late Nov to Jan in Argentina.... read more


    Most populations possibly sedentary. Race nattereri may be migratory in S of range. In S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In Central America, uncommon to frequent in Atlantic lowlands from extreme SE Mexico to Honduras; widespread and locally uncommon to common in Costa... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Short-tailed Nighthawk (Lurocalis semitorquatus). 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 19 February 2020).