Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Standard-winged Nightjar (Caprimulgus longipennis)


French: Engoulevent à balanciers German: Fahnennachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras portaestandarte

Caprimulgus longipennis


, 1796,

Sierra Leone


Previously placed with C. vexillarius in a separate genus, Macrodipteryx, but recent phylogenetic study indicates that both are embedded within Caprimulgus#R. Despite evident differences in morphology, these two species exhibit similarities in vocalizations, breeding strategy, and some roosting and feeding habits, as well as a number of morphological affinities, and are probably closely related. Monotypic.


Gambia, S Senegal and W Liberia E through C Cameroon and N DRCongo to SW South Sudan, N Uganda and possibly NW Kenya; present in dry season in coastal strip from E Liberia to W Cameroon, and in SE Uganda (Dec–Mar), but breeding not confirmed in these areas. Winters in Sahel zone N of breeding range.

Descriptive notes

21–22 cm (excluding male's “standards”, which reach 45–53·5 cm in length); male 32–65 g, female 32–65 g. Sexually dimorphic,... read more


Song of male is a rapid series of soft (indeed barely audible), high-pitched “ts” notes... read more


Typically occurs in lightly wooded savanna, or savanna with bush or thorn scrub. Also farmland in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes beetles, moths, grasshoppers, cicadas, earwigs, bugs, leafhoppers, flies, winged ants, winged termites and mosquitoes.... read more


Breeds Mar–Jul in Senegambia, Nov–Jul in Mali, Feb–May in Liberia and possibly also Togo, Jan–May in Ghana, Jan... read more


An intra-African migrant, movements protracted and possibly influenced by rains, not fully... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and frequent to abundant throughout much of breeding range. Generally fairly common to abundant from Senegal, Gambia and Sierra Leone E to... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Standard-winged Nightjar (Caprimulgus longipennis). 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).