Scissor-tailed nightjar Hydropsalis torquata, photographed by Horacio Luna

Belongs within: Cypselomorphae.
Contains: Caprimulgus, Chordeiles.

The Caprimulgidae include the nightjars, a cosmopolitan group of nocturnal insectivorous birds. Nightjars are cryptically coloured in mottled brown.

Characters (from The Internet Bird Collection; Sclater 1866): Small to large nocturnal birds, with variegated plumage, large mouth, long wings and tail, and short legs. Claw of middle toe pectinated; outer toe with four phalanges. Sternum with one pair of shallow posterior fissures. Eggs coloured.

<==Caprimulgidae [Aereae, Caprimulginae, Glabrirostres, Setirostres, Terricolae]
    |--Eurostopodus Gould 1838 [Eurostopodidae]
    |    |  i. s.: E. archboldi JT12
    |    |         E. diabolicus FP64
    |    |         E. guttatus (Vigors & Horsfield 1827) [=Caprimulgus guttatus] WS48
    |    |         E. temminckii H03
    |    |--E. papuensis JT12
    |    `--+--E. argus JT12
    |       `--E. mystacalis JT12
    `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ enarratus JT12
       `--+--‘Eurostopodus’ macrotis JT12
          `--+--+--Caprimulgus JT12
             |  `--Chordeiles JT12
             `--+--+--Siphonorhis JT12
                |  |    |--S. americana JT12 [=Caprimulgus americanus S66a]
                |  |    `--S. brewsteri JT12 [=S. americana brewsteri FP64]
                |  `--+--Nyctiphrynus JT12
                |     |    |--N. rosenbergi JT12
                |     |    `--+--N. mcleodii JT12
                |     |       `--+--N. ocellatus JT12
                |     |          `--N. yucatanicus JT12
                |     `--+--Phalaenoptilus nuttallii JT12
                |        `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ ridgwayi JT12
                |           |  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ saturatus JT12
                |           |     `--‘Caprimulgus’ vociferus JT12 [=Antrostomus vociferus S66a]
                |           `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ salvini JT12
                |              `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ carolinensis JT12 [=Antrostomus carolinensis S66a]
                |                 `--‘Caprimulgus’ rufus JT12 [=Antrostomus rufus S66a; incl. Ca. cortopao S66a]
                `--+--Lurocalis JT12
                   |    |--L. nattereri [=Caprimulgus nattereri, Chordeiles nattereri] S66a
                   |    |--L. ruficentris JT12
                   |    `--L. semitorquatus (see below for synonymy) S66a
                   `--+--Nyctiprogne JT12
                      |    |--N. leucopyga JT12
                      |    `--N. vielliardi JT12
                      `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ nigrescens JT12 [=Antrostomus nigrescens S66a, Stenopsis nigrescens S66a]
                         |  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ anthonyi JT12
                         |     `--Nyctidromus Gould 1838 JT12, B94 [Nyctidrominae]
                         |          `--N. albicollis (see below for synonymy) S66a
                         |               |--N. a. albicollis FS55
                         |               `--N. a. intercedens FS55
                         `--+--Uropsalis JT12
                            |    |--U. lyra JT12
                            |    `--U. segmentata JT12
                            `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ whitelyi JT12
                               |  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ parvulus Gould 1837 JT12, S66a (see below for synonymy)
                               |     `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ longirostris JT12 (see below for synonymy)
                               |        `--Eleothreptus JT12
                               |             |--E. anomalus (Gould 1837) JT12, S66a (see below for synonymy)
                               |             `--E. candicans JT12
                               `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ maculicaudus JT12
                                  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ cayennensis JT12
                                     `--Hydropsalis JT12
                                          |  i. s.: H. climacocerca JT12
                                          |--H. (Hydropsalis) S66a
                                          |    |--H. (H.) furcifera [=Caprimulgus furcifer] S66a
                                          |    |--H. (H.) pallescens von Pelzeln 1865 S66a
                                          |    `--H. (H.) torquata (see below for synonymy) S66a
                                          `--H. (Diplopsalis) S66a
                                               |--H. (D.) schomburgki S66a
                                               `--H. (D.) trifurcata [incl. H. climacocerca] S66a

Caprimulgidae incertae sedis:
  Lyncornis temminckii S55
  Nannochordeiles pusillus S55
    |--N. p. pusillus S55
    `--N. p. septentrionalis S55
  Semeiophorus Gould 1838 B94
    `--S. vexillarius MMJ03
  Scotornis Swainson 1837 [Scotornithinae] B94
    `--S. climacurus S55
         |--S. c. climacurus S55
         `--S. c. clarus S55
  Stenopsis S66a
    |--S. bifasciata S66b [=Caprimulgus bifasciatus S66a; incl. C. conterminus S66a, C. decussatus S66a]
    |--S. candicans [=Caprimulgus candicans; incl. C. leucurus] S66b
    |--S. cayanensis S66b [=Caprimulgus cayanensis S66a; incl. C. cayanus S66a, C. leopetes S66a]
    |--S. langsdorfi Pelzeln in Sclater 1866 S66b
    |--S. platura Pelzeln in Sclater 1866 [=Caprimulgus platurus] S66b
    `--S. ruficervix Sclater 1866 S66a
  Macropsalis Sclater 1866 S66a
    |--M. forcipata JT12 (see below for synonymy)
    |--M. lyra [=Hydropsalis (Macropsalis) lyra] S66a
    |--M. segmentata Cassin 1849 [=Hydropsalis (Macropsalis) segmentata] S66a
    `--M. ypanemae von Pelzeln 1865 [=Hydropsalis (Macropsalis) ypanemae] S66a
  Antrostomus S66a
    |--A. cubanensis Lawrence 1860 S66b
    |--A. macromystax [=Caprimulgus macromystax] S66a
    |--A. maculicaudus [=Stenopsis maculicaudus] S66b
    |--A. nuttalli [=Caprimulgus nuttalli] S66a
    |--A. ocellatus (see below for synonymy) S66a
    |--A. ornatus Sclater 1866 S66b
    |--A. rutilus S66b
    `--A. sericeocaudatus S66b

Antrostomus ocellatus [=Caprimulgus ocellatus; incl. C. brasilianus, C. brasiliensis, C. lunulatus Natt. in Sclater 1866 (n. n.)] S66a

‘Caprimulgus’ longirostris JT12 [=Antrostomus longirostris S66a, Stenopsis longirostris S66a]

‘Caprimulgus’ parvulus Gould 1837 JT12, S66a [=Antrostomus parvulus S66a; incl. C. mixtus S66a]

Eleothreptus anomalus (Gould 1837) JT12, S66a [=Amblypterus anomalus S66a, Heleothreptus anomalus S66a]

Hydropsalis (Hydropsalis) torquata [=Caprimulgus torquatus; incl. H. azarae Wagl. 1883, Psalurus macropterus, Caprimulgus psalurus, Hydropsalis psalurus] S66a

Lurocalis semitorquatus [=Caprimulgus semitorquatus, Chordeiles semitorquatus; incl. Podager gouldi] S66a

Macropsalis forcipata JT12 [=Caprimulgus forcipatus S66a, Hydropsalis (Macropsalis) forcipata S66a; incl. H. limbatus S66a, Caprimulgus megalurus Licht. in Sclater 1866 (n. n.) S66a]

Nyctidromus albicollis [=Caprimulgus albicollis; incl. N. affinis, N. americanus Cassin 1851, N. derbyanus, N. grallarius, Caprimulgus guianensis, N. guianensis] S66a

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[FS55] Felten, H., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Zur Vogelfauna von El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (1-2): 9-19.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[H03] Heads, M. 2003. Ericaceae in Malesia: Vicariance biogeography, terrane tectonics and ecology. Telopea 10 (1): 311-449.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[MMJ03] Mayr, G., A. Manegold & U. S. Johansson. 2003. Monophyletic groups within ‘higher land birds’ – comparison of morphological and molecular data. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 41: 233-248.

[S66a] Sclater, P. L. 1866a. Notes upon the American Caprimulgidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 123-145.

[S66b] Sclater, P. L. 1866b. Additional notes on the Caprimulgidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 581-590.

[S55] Steinbacher, J. 1955. Über die Schwanzmauser der Eulen (Strigidae) und Nachtschwalben (Caprimulgidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 36: 235-240.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

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