Pygmy Nightjar

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Image:PygmyNightjar.jpg

Common Name: Pygmy Nightjar
Scientific Name: Nyctipolus hirundinaceus

Size: 6.3-7.9 inches (16-20 cm); Wingspan: 16-16.6 inches (41-50 cm)

Habitat: South America; endemic to Xeric Caatinga of north-east Brazil. A population was recently discovered in east-central Brazil.

The species largely prefers lowland deciduous forest especially with open sandy areas, although the newly described subspecies vielliardi occurs in rocky areas

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown amount of adult individuals with a stable population trend. The Caatinga habitats have suffered markedly from agricultural expansion, grazing and burning since the late 18th century. The level of general disturbance has further increased in the last 30 years since the arrival in the area of the Brazilian oil company, Petrobrás, which has improved access, permitting an influx of settlers and relocation of many families by government agencies.

Diet: Nocturnal insects. Forages in flight, hunting low.

Nesting: Sexes are dimorphic. The upper parts and wing-coverts are grayish-brown, densely speckled with grayish-white or tawny and buff. There is no scapular pattern or nuchal collar. It has an indistinct buff collar and a thin whitish supercilium with an indistinct buff submoustachial stripe. There is a large white patch on throat with broad cinnamon-buff colored band below. The under parts are brown, densely spotted and barred with pale buff and grayish-white, becoming buff with barred brown on belly and flanks. The male has a white spot on the four outermost primaries and white tips to the two outermost tail feathers (inner web only on outermost). The female has smaller wing spots and lacks the white on tail. Irises are dark brown, bills are blackish-brown, and the legs and feet are blackish-brown.

Cool Facts: There are three subspecies:

  • N. h. cearae, first reported by Cory in 1917. It is found in Northeastern Brazil from northern Ceará southward to extreme North Bahia. This subspecies is paler, with less barring on the under parts, which are sometimes plain, and larger white wing spots in the male than in the nominate species.
  • N. h. hirundinaceus, first reported by Spix in 1825. The nominate species is found in northeastern Brazil in southern Piauí, Bahia (except extreme North) and Alagoas.
  • N. h. vielliardi, first reported by Ribon in 1995. It is found in eastern Brazil in southeastern Minas Gerais and west-central Espírito Santo. This subspecies is darker, with longer wings, and smaller white wing spots in the male than in the nominate species.


Found in Songbird ReMix Frogmouths, Nightjars & Goatsuckers

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