Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Spotted Nightjar (Eurostopodus argus)


French: Engoulevent argus German: Argusnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras argos
Other common names: Spotted Eared-nightjar

Eurostopodus argus

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1892,

Australia, Aru Islands and probably New Ireland


Formerly listed as E. guttatus, but this name applies to E. mystacalis, of which it is a junior synonym#R. Birds of NW Australia formerly separated as race harterti, those of Groote Eylandt as gilberti, and those of Banda Sea as insulanus, but variation appears to be limited and clinal. Monotypic.


Most of Australia, but generally absent in coastal regions from C Queensland S to SE South Australia and Tasmania. Some post-breeding movement N to Lesser Sundas and Aru Is.

Descriptive notes

27–35 cm; male 81–132 g, female 75–123 g. Sexes similar. Upperparts greyish-brown speckled greyish-white; central crown broadly streaked blackish-brown... read more


Song of male is a rapid series of ascending “whaw” notes followed by bubbling gobbles,... read more


Mainly open woodland, savanna and grassland; forest and woods, mallee with eucalyptus, ... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes mantids, Orthoptera, bugs, lacewings, beetles, moths and winged ants. Forages in flight, often among trees and bushes, home... read more


Breeds Aug–Feb (possibly mainly Sept–Nov), though may not breed if preceding winter too dry. Usually single-brooded,... read more


Sedentary and locally nomadic in N, migratory and partially sedentary in S. Some S populations... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread but local throughout breeding range, preferring drier habitats than other Australian nightjars. Breeding territories of c. 1–2 ha... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. (2020). Spotted Nightjar (Eurostopodus argus). 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).