Family Owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae)

Least Concern

Wallace's Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles wallacii)


French: Égothèle de Wallace German: Fleckenschwalm Spanish: Egotelo de Wallace

Ægotheles wallacii

G. R. Gray

, 1859,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Probably not closely related to any congener. Race gigas has been proposed as a distinct species on basis of its considerably larger size and its montane (rather than predominantly lowland) range, but this treatment countered by the fact that manni is of intermediate size and occupies an intermediate altitudinal range; recent studies show that the three races differ significantly only in size. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. w. wallacii G. R. Gray, 1859 – New Guinea in Vogelkop and along S side of Central Ranges E to Karimui; Aru Is.
  • A. w. gigas Rothschild, 1931 – Weyland Mts, in W New Guinea.
  • A. w. manni Diamond, 1969 – N New Guinea (Mt Menawa, Mt Turu).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–23 cm; 46·5–48·5 g (wallacii), 50·5–52 g (manni). Distinctive small owlet-nightjar. Nominate form is variable in... read more


    Little information. Double whistle, first note rising, second falling and often with trill, may... read more


    Forests, mainly hill and lower montane forests; occasionally enters gardens. Occurs from sea-level... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beetles reported. No other information.


    No reliable information available; published accounts of cream-coloured eggs with grey markings most unlikely to be based on those of an... read more


    Presumably sedentary, but information scanty.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Apparently a rare, or perhaps elusive, species throughout its range, with small number of specimens from scattered localities. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holyoak, D.T. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Wallace's Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles wallacii). 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 February 2020).