Grey Nightjar

Scientific Name: Caprimulgus jotaka

Malay Name: Tukang Kelabu Timur

Chinese Name: 普通夜鹰

Range: Breeding Range: Himalayas to East and South-east Asia.Nonbreeding Range: Indian subcontinent, mainland South-East Asia to Indonesia and Philippines.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: jotaka, hazarae.

Size: 28-32 cm

Identification: Dark, greyish bird. Smaller and with a darker crown compared to Large-tailed.Male: No rufescent tinge on nape, heavier black vermiculation on upperparts. Smaller white throat patch. Darker breast, scapulars less contrasting, with black, buff and whitish bars overall; show less obvious whitish to buff bars across wing coverts. In flight, small white wing patches and tail patches.Female: Wing patches smaller than male and buff, and lack any obvious white tail patches.

Similar looking species: Large-tailed Nightjar, Savanna Nightjar

Habitat: On migration, found in primary forest, secondary growth, plantations and wooded parks.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually seen perched on taller tree branches in daytime. Active nighttime.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant.

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Dec 17-Dec 23
Early date 24 Sep 2005
Late date 09 May 2021
This heavily under-recorded nightjar is presumably much more common than the numbers here suggest. Its tendency to roost in the canopy during the day makes it difficult to observe this species well.


BirdLife International. (2016). Caprimulgus jotaka. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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