Order: Caprimulgiformes

Family:  Caprimulgidae

Scientific name: Caprimulgus asiaticus, Latham, 1790

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Indian Nightjar is also known as Common Nightjar or Little Indian Nightjar


The Indian Nightjar is 23- 24 cm in long and weighs 40 to 45 Gms. The upper parts are greyish brown with blackish brown streaks. The gray crown has broad blackish brown streaks in the centre and has reddish brown edges. The tail is short and has white corners. The cheeks are darker and there are whitish patches on the side of the throat. The white patches in the wings are clearly visible during flight. The breast region has fine brown bars. Both sexes look similar.


The diet of Indian Nightjar is mostly large insects. Insects like crickets, mantises, grasshoppers, locusts, cicadas, moths, beetles and wasps are the primary food. They are crepuscular, and active in the twilight before dawn and dusk. They fly into the swarms of insects with their bill wide open. Sometimes rest on ground and feed insects. The forage time is dawn and dusk and is done mainly solitarily.


The Indian Nightjar inhibit in natural forest, shrub lands, arable lands, rural gardens, urban parks, plantations, dry forests, compounds and groves in the neighbourhood of cultivations and human inhabitations. In India, it is distributed throughout the union. They are also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season is from February to September. The male establishes his territory and sings at night to keep rivals away and also to attract a female. The nest is an unlined scrap on the bare ground, bamboo or bush jungle. Normally two eggs are laid. The female incubates the eggs on day and both birds share it during night for 19-21 days. The hatchlings are covered by brown down on the upperparts which provides best camouflage They are cared by both parents..


The call is a distinctive “chuk-chuk-chuk” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Madagascan Nightjar (Caprimulgus madagascariensis).
  • Jungle Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus).
  • Jerdon’s Nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis).
  • Caprimulgus asiaticus asiaticus of Southeast Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Caprimulgus asiaticus eidos of Sri Lanka.

Migratory Behaviour

Uncommon Resident and local migrant.