Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Star-spotted Nightjar (Caprimulgus stellatus)


French: Engoulevent étoilé German: Sternnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras estrellado

Caprimulgus stellatus

Blundell and Lovat

, 1899,

Kassim River, southern Ethiopia


Possibly closest to C. inornatus. Species often treated as monotypic, but form simplex appears on balance to be probably worthy of recognition#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. stellatus Blundell & Lovat, 1899 – E Ethiopia; single old record from NW Somalia#R#R.
  • C. s. simplex Neumann, 1907 – C Ethiopia S, patchily, to SE South Sudan and NW & C Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; male 54–64 g, female 50–69 g. Sexes similar. Slight colour variation noted with individuals ranging from greyish or vinaceous brown to paler,... read more


    Song of male is a soft, yelping “pweu, pweu, pweu, pweu” or “pwe-eh, pwe-eh, pwe-eh”, given from... read more


    Largely confined to dry, open bush and grassland, but also stony semi-deserts and black lava fields... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet poorly studied. Feeds on moths, mantises, beetles and grasshoppers. Foraging methods not documented.


    Almost completely unknown. Possibly breeds Jan–Mar throughout range.


    None documented. Sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in Ethiopia, especially in S, e.g. possibly one of commonest nightjars in Nechisar National Park; rare in SE Sudan; locally common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2020). Star-spotted Nightjar (Caprimulgus stellatus). 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 5 April 2020).