Order: Caprimulgiformes

Family: Caprimulgidae

Scientific name: Caprimulgus atripennis, Jerdon, 1845

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Jerdon’s Nightjar is also known as Ceylon Nightjar and Indian Long-tailed Nightjar.


The Jerdon’s Nightjar is 25 to 27 cm long and weighs about 45-50 gms. The overall plumage is buff brown. The crown is greyish brown. The central feathers are blackish-brown with spare bold spots and streaks. The wings and tail are barred. The males have a white patch on each wing. The wings are narrow and long. The beak is brownish and the gape is wide. The feet are small, of little use for walking. The irises are dark brown. Their plumage resembles bark or leaves and gives them the best camouflage with the surroundings.


The diet of Jerdon’s Nightjar is mainly large insects. Insects like grasshoppers, locusts, cicadas, moths, beetles and wasps are the primary food. They have the habit of hawking the prey from air. The forage time is late evening, early morning and night and it is done mainly solitarily.


Jerdon’s Nightjar is moderately forest dependent. They inhabit in plantations, evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, mangrove vegetation, moist lowlands, scrub jungles, open woodlands and tropical and subtropical degraded forests. In Indian it is distributed in the central and southern peninsular region. It is also found in Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season is from March to July in India. No nest is made by them. Normally two eggs are laid on the bare ground. The brooding bird covers the eggs with their camouflage plumage which gives it the best protection from predators. The incubation of 19-21 days is mainly done by the female. The young ones are cared by both parents.


The call is a fast repetitive “ch-woo-woo” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Jungle Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus).
  • Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus).
  • Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka).
  • Caprimulgus atripennis atripennis of Peninsular India.
  • Caprimulgus atripennis aequabilis of Sri Lanka.

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident