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Nightjars: Caprimulgiformes

Conservation Status

There is concern about the future of some Caprimulgiformes species, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). These species are threatened by loss of habitat as forests are cleared for farming and development.

The Puerto Rican nightjar is Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. However, conservation efforts could result in the ranking being changed to Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the near future.

The Itombwe nightjar and the white-winged nightjar are Endangered. Only one specimen of the Itombwe nightjar was found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. White-winged nightjars live in Bolivia and Brazil. When this species was discovered in Paraguay, it was a sign that the population was larger. The species ranking was changed from Critically Endangered to Endangered.

Two Indonesian species, the satanic-eared nightjar and Bonaparte's nightjar, are Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.


Oilbirds move safely in dark caves by making clicking sounds. The birds listen to the echoes made when the sounds bounce off surfaces like cave walls. Oilbirds know to fly away from the echoes or they will crash into something. The guiding process oilbirds use is called echolocation. Bats, porpoises, and whales also use echolocation.



Stuart, Chris and Tilde. Birds of Africa From Seabirds to Seed Eaters Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.


Pratt, Thane K. "Evidence For A Previously Unrecognized Species of Owlet-Nightjar." The Auk (January 2000): 1–11.

Web sites:

"Australian Owlet-Nightjar." Australian Museum Online. http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/owlet_nightjar.htm (accessed on June 1, 2004).

"White-throated nightjar." Environmental Protection Agency/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/wildlife/nocturnal_animals/birds/whitethroated_nightjar/ (accessed on June 1, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNightjars: Caprimulgiformes - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Caprimulgiformes And People, Conservation Status - DIET