Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Spot-tailed Nightjar (Hydropsalis maculicaudus)


French: Engoulevent à queue étoilée German: Fleckschwanz-Nachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras colipinto

Stenopsis maculicaudus


, 1862,

Pará, Brazil


Placed in genus Antrostomus by some authors#R. Considered by some to be sufficiently distinctive to merit isolation in a separate genus, in which case name Antiurus is available. Disjunct populations could represent more than one species; study required. Treated as monotypic.


Discontinuously from SE Mexico S to Colombia, the Guianas, N Brazil S through Peru, N & EC Bolivia to E Paraguay and SE Brazil; recently recorded in NE Argentina (Misiones)#R.

Descriptive notes

19–21·5 cm; male 28–35 g, female 26–39 g. Sexually dimorphic. Crown blackish-brown spotted buff or tawny; upper­parts brown or greyish-brown,... read more


Song of male is a repetitive, high-pitched “t-seet”, song notes variable, given from... read more


Mainly savanna and grassland with scattered trees and thickets; also bushy pastures, open marshy... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on beetles, moths, flies, bugs, Orthoptera and damselflies. Forages by making flycatching sallies from ground.


Breeds late Mar to Jul in Mexico, Oct–Jan in Surinam, and possibly late Feb to May in Colombia, a bird recorded incubating in Sep in... read more


Sedentary throughout much of South American range, though small population ­migratory,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common locally in many parts of range, though probably under-recorded in many regions. Locally common to fairly common in SE... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Spot-tailed Nightjar (Hydropsalis maculicaudus). 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 16 January 2019).