• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Long-tailed Nightjar - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies climacurus
© and Photo by bob freeman
Brufut, The Gambia, January 2013
Caprimulgus climacurus


Female, subspecies climacurus
© and Photo by d.flack
Farutso Forest, Gambia, March 2018

Length 28-43 cm (11-17 in). Small-bodied with a long tail.
Sexually dimorphic.
Variable in colour ranging from pale brown, brown and greyish-brown to sandy-buff.

  • Upperparts and wing-coverts generally greyish-brown, finely streaked brown


  • White line across forewing
  • Broad tawny or buff nuchal collar
  • White throat patch
  • Pale brown underparts, speckled and barred pale buff, becoming buff thinly barred brown on belly and flanks
  • Broad white band across five outermost primaries and white trailing edge to inner wing
  • Tail graduated, central pair longest, outer tail feathers edged and tipped white
  • Bill brown, legs and feet brownish


  • Buff or buffish-white line across forewing
  • Buffish-white wing band and buff or buffish-white trailing edge to inner wing
  • Sshorter-tailed with outer feathers edged and tipped buff
  • Iris brown

Immature similar to adult female but paler.


  • Subspecies nigricans distinctive, generally blackish, male often longer-tailed
  • Subspecies sclateri more rufous, but variable in colour.

Similar Species

Has notably longer tail than Slender-tailed Nightjar and Square-tailed Nightjar, and is generally paler.


Africa: found from Senegambia to Ethiopia, Uganda and DRC.



Caprimulgus climacurus has three subspecies:[1]:

  • C. c. climacurus
  • C. c. sclateri
  • C. c. nigricans


A wide variety of different habitats, from arid semi-desert through to savanna and clearings in lowland forest.



Their diet consists of beetles, winged termites, moths, mantids, bugs, ants and grasshoppers. They feed in flight.


Rapid churring.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2018)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1