Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Sykes’s Nightjar (Caprimulgus mahrattensis)


French: Engoulevent de Sykes German: Sykesnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras de Mahratta

Caprimulgus Mahrattensis


, 1832,

Mahrattas [Maharashtra], western India




SE Iran, S Afghanistan, Pakistan and NW India. Winters in W, N & C India.

Descriptive notes

22–24 cm; male 58 g, female 56 g. Sexually dimorphic, though not greatly so. Upperparts sandy-grey, lightly spotted blackish brown, with indistinct buffish nuchal... read more


Song of male is an evenly pitched churr given from ground, mainly at dusk and dawn, similar to but... read more


Mainly semi-deserts with scattered thorn scrub; also dry stony scrubland, gravel or clay plains,... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on moths, beetles and other insects up to 2 cm long. Foraging flight agile and buoyant, and hunts low over open country, including... read more


Breeds Feb–Aug (mainly Mar–May) in Pakistan and Mar–May in NW India (Punjab and Gujarat); no data from other regions.... read more


Poorly known. Sedentary and partially migratory; perhaps those populations in hills being more... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Most habitats in which species occurs are unlikely to be subject to substantial human influence in near future. Locally common in... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Sykes’s Nightjar (Caprimulgus mahrattensis). 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 25 February 2020).