Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Rufous Nightjar (Caprimulgus rufus) - HBW 5, p. 347

French: Engoulevent roux German: Rostnachtschwalbe Spanish: Chotacabras Colorado
Other common names: Ruddy Nightjar (minimus); St Lucia/St Lucien Nightjar (otiosus)

Taxonomy: Caprimulgus rufus Boddaert, 1783, Cayenne.
May form superspecies with C. carolinensis, with which has even been considered conspecific, but differs notably in both voice and morphology. Race otiosus has been considered a distinct species, on the basis of supposed sympatric breeding in N Venezuela; however, presence of this race in Venezuela now seems rather unlikely, as the relevant specimens were in poor condition and anyway do not appear to have matched otiosus well; also, differences from other races in vocalizations and plumage are minimal and do not appear to justify this split. Race minimus has also b.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Caprimulgus rufus Boddaert, 1783, Cayenne.
May form superspecies with C. carolinensis, with which has even been considered conspecific, but differs notably in both voice and morphology. Race otiosus has been considered a distinct species, on the basis of supposed sympatric breeding in N Venezuela; however, presence of this race in Venezuela now seems rather unlikely, as the relevant specimens were in poor condition and anyway do not appear to have matched otiosus well; also, differences from other races in vocalizations and plumage are minimal and do not appear to justify this split. Race minimus has also been considered a separate species, but again differences appear insufficient. Race saltarius initially thought to belong to C. sericocaudatus; subsequently found to be closer to present species, but thought to occur sympatrically with rutilus and so raised to full species status; however, voice and morphometrics convincingly show it to belong within present species, where it is sometimes synonymized with rutilus, being considered merely a grey plumage morph. Race rutilus includes proposed forms ornatus and cortapau; nominate rufus includes proposed race noctivigularis. Recent sight records of present species from C Colombia, S Ecuador, Peru and C Brazil not yet subspecifically assigned; some of these may refer to as yet undescribed races. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • minimus Griscom & Greenway, 1937 - S Costa Rica to N Colombia, N Venezuela and NW Trinidad (including Bocas Is).
  • otiosus (Bangs, 1911) - NE St Lucia in Lesser Antilles.
  • rufus Boddaert, 1783 - S Venezuela E through the Guianas and NC Brazil.

     See all 5 subspecies
  • minimus Griscom & Greenway, 1937 - S Costa Rica to N Colombia, N Venezuela and NW Trinidad (including Bocas Is).
  • otiosus (Bangs, 1911) - NE St Lucia in Lesser Antilles.
  • rufus Boddaert, 1783 - S Venezuela E through the Guianas and NC Brazil.
  • rutilus (Burmeister, 1856) - S Brazil, E Bolivia, Paraguay and NE Argentina.
  • saltarius Olrog, 1979 - NW Argentina and possibly SE Bolivia.