Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Swallow-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis segmentata)


French: Engoulevent à queue d’aronde German: Schwalbenschwanz-Nachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras golondrina

Hydropsalis segmentatus


, 1849,

Bogotá, Colombia


In the past, subspecies kalinowskii was treated as a full species in a separate genus (Macropsalis). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. s. segmentata (Cassin, 1849) – Andes in Colombia (C & E ranges) and Ecuador (both slopes).
  • U. s. kalinowskii (Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1894) – E slope of Andes from N Peru (Amazonas) S to W & C Bolivia (Cochabamba).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm (excluding outer tail feathers of male, which reach 40·7–54 cm in length); 1 male 45 g, 1 female 50 g. Sexually dimorphic. Upperparts dark brown,... read more


    Song of male is a whistled “purrrrr-sweeeee” that rises, then descends in pitch; sings from ground... read more


    Typically, forest clearings, glades and openings and along forest edges, often preferring areas... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet poorly studied, but probably feeds on insects. Forages by making short sallies from ground or perches. When foraging, flies low over... read more


    Very poorly known. Breeds Aug–Sept and Jan–Feb in Colombia; no data from other regions. Males perform courtship displays in... read more


    None documented. Possibly sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In Colombia, considered locally uncommon to fairly common in suitable habitat; locally fairly common in suitable habitat throughout rest of ­... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cleere, N. (2018). Swallow-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis segmentata). 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 18 October 2018).