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Caprimulgidae – Nightjars and Allies

White-winged Nightjar in Paraguay: Photo by Angus Pritchard

Welcome to our Caprimulgidae guide! Also known as nightjars, this family consists of nocturnal birds known for their distinctive calls and cryptic plumage. Found across most parts of the world, nightjars typically inhabit open woodlands, grasslands, and desert areas. They hunt at dusk and dawn, relying on their agile flight to catch insects in midair. Explore our guides for insights into the diverse species within Caprimulgidae and learn more about their habitats, behaviors, and unique adaptations.

Overview of Caprimulgidae

Caprimulgids are best known for their distinctive calls that fill the night air. Their nocturnal lifestyles, cryptic plumage, and well-camouflaged eggs mean much is still unknown about their breeding habits and conservation status. Nightjars and nighthawks rely on their keen vision to locate nocturnal insects even in very low light. Sight plays an important role in mate selection, leading to a variety of visual displays such as long tail plumes or wing feather rackets in males. Their wide mouths and striking calls have earned them the common names of goatsuckers and nightjars.