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Fiery-necked nightjar

Fiery-necked nightjar

The fiery-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus pectoralis) is a species of nightjar in the family Caprimulgidae, which occurs in Africa south of the equator. Its distinctive and frequently uttered call is rendered as 'good-lord-deliver-us'. It is replaced in the tropics by a near relative, the black-shouldered nightjar. In addition to the latter, it forms a species complex with the Montane and Ruwenzori nightjars.[2]

Fiery-necked nightjar
C. p. fervidus in Limpopo, South Africa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Caprimulgiformes
Family: Caprimulgidae
Genus: Caprimulgus
C. pectoralis
Binomial name
Caprimulgus pectoralis
Cuvier, 1816


It ranges from coastal Kenya southwards to the southern regions of Tanzania, the D.R.C. and Angola, to Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


The plumage of this small species of nightjar is fairly colourful with marked contrasts. The center of the crown is marked with swarthy stripes, the ear coverts are chestnut brown, and the necked is fringed and highlighted with tawny shades. The gape is fringed with rictal bristles with white bases. The grey scapulars are marked with two clear rows of angular black spots. White markings cover the outer vanes of the primary feather emargination, and in males, the outer tail feather is marked with an extended white outer vane. The wing coverts are marked with small, pearly spots.


There are four to five accepted races:

  • C. p. subsp. pectoralis – southern South Africa
Description: Largest race with darkest plumage[3]
  • C. p. subsp. fervidus – southern African woodlands
  • C. p. subsp. shelleyi – central African woodlands
  • C. p. subsp. crepusculans – eastern lowlands and lowveld
  • C. (p.) nigriscapularis – a northern race or full species


  1. BirdLife International (2016). "Caprimulgus pectoralis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22730097A95024190. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22730097A95024190.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. Keith, Stuart; Urban, Emil K.; Fry, C. Hilary (1992). The Birds of Africa, Volume III. Academic Press. pp. 168–170. ISBN 9780121373047.
  3. Chittenden, H.; et al. (2012). Roberts geographic variation of southern African birds. Cape Town: JVBBF. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-920602-00-0.
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