Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

Tepui Nightjar (Systellura roraimae)


French: Engoulevent des tépuis German: Tepui-Spiegelnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras de tepuy

Systellura ruficervix roraimae


, 1929,

Philipp Camp, 6000 feet [c. 1830 m], Mt Roraima, Venezuela


Until recently considered conspecific with S. longirostris, but differs in having strongly divergent voice (a short flat-toned but rising penetrating whistle vs various versions of a similar-length whistle rather abruptly modulated in the pattern up-down-up “iiiiui”#R)(3); larger size than neighbour ruficervix (and discounting southernmost patagonica) (at least 1); overall darker plumage, with darker brownish markings on rump, tertials, wing-coverts and tail-coverts (1); fewer and smaller white markings on upperparts, breast and wing, latter with white markings on P7–10 not forming unbroken bar, and with ochraceous-buff vs white at carpal joint (2). Genetic data indicate that present species is sister to S. longirostris ruficervix, and that together these two form a clade that is sister to the rest of the taxa formerly placed in S. longirostris, excluding S. decussata#R, which is also treated specifically here. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Pantepui of S Venezuela and extreme N Brazil.

Descriptive notes

24 cm; one male 50 g, three females 46·5–54 g, one unsexed 52 g. Medium-sized, predominantly dark-coloured nightjar, with broad tawny or buff collar on hindneck... read more


In territorial defence, gives a steady series of slightly mournful, slightly rising whistles at c.... read more


Forest and woodland edges and clearings. Recorded from 1150 m up to 2800 m on summit of Mt Roraima. read more

Food and feeding

Presumably similar to S. longirostris, but no information available.


No information, but birds collected in the early part of the year on Cerro de la Neblina showed no signs of nesting, whereas on Auyán-tepui... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Pantepui endemic: present in Tepuis EBA. Uncommon. Known from tepuis of Roraima, Uei, Ptari, Sororopán, Uaipán, Auyán-tepui, Guaiquinima W to Guanay... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Tepui Nightjar (Systellura roraimae). 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 19 February 2020).