Family Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Concern

White-throated Nightjar (Eurostopodus mystacalis)


French: Engoulevent moustac German: Bartnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras bigotudo
Other common names: White-throated Eared-nightjar

Caprimulgus mystacalis


, 1826,

New South Wales, Australia


Formerly listed as E. albogularis, but name mystacalis has priority#R. Name guttatus is likewise a junior synonym of present species#R. Formerly considered conspecific with E. nigripennis and E. exul, but recently split on grounds of vocal and morphological differences#R, and this treatment followed here. It differs from E. nigripennis in its song, a  “rapid series of bubbling ‘wows’’ vs a “rising series of ‘knocking’ notes… similar to an axe hitting wood”#R (3); considerably larger size (effect size for wing difference –3.5) (2); wing with a single white spot on P4 vs a short but distinct white bar (2); supposedly less distinct rufous collar and less distinctly barred undertail not apparent on all specimens. It differs from E. exul in its longer wing (at least 2), much darker upperparts (3), less well-marked dark crown (at least 1), and presence of a rufous hindcollar (1).Monotypic.

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

E Australia from Cape York Peninsula S through E Queensland and E New South Wales to E & CS Victoria; winters N to SC & E New Guinea.

Descriptive notes

30–37 cm ; male 98–145 g, female 140–180 g. Sexes similar. Upperparts greyish brown broadly streaked blackish brown; buff or tawny-buff nuchal collar; wing-... read more


Song of male (mainly given during breeding season, and mostly around dusk and dawn) is a rapid,... read more


In Australia, typically forest, especially eucalypt and dry sclerophyll forest, woodland, and dry,... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on moths, beetles, flying ants, bugs, Orthoptera and mantids. Forages in flight, usually hunting over forests, woodlands or trees, up... read more


Breeds Sept–Feb (mainly Oct–Dec) in Australia, perhaps later in S of range. May not breed if preceding winter extremely dry; in... read more


Nominate race sedentary and partly migratory in N of range (Queensland), migratory in S. On... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally fairly common in E Australia; possibly rare to scarce winter visitor to New Guinea, though perhaps under-recorded. On... read more

Recommended citation

Cleere, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). White-throated Nightjar (Eurostopodus mystacalis). 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 30 March 2020).