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Roraiman nightjar

Roraiman nightjar

The Roraiman nightjar (Setopagis whitelyi) is a species of nightjar in the family Caprimulgidae. It is found in Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela.[2]

Roraiman nightjar
Illustration by Keulemans, 1892
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Caprimulgiformes
Family: Caprimulgidae
Genus: Setopagis
S. whitelyi
Binomial name
Setopagis whitelyi
(Salvin, 1885)
  • Anstrotomus whitelyi
  • Caprimulgus whitelyi

Taxonomy and systematics

The Roraiman nightjar was described as Anstrotomus whitelyi and was later lumped into genus Caprimulgus. Since the early 2010s has been placed in its current genus Setopagis. It is monotypic.[3][4][2]


The Roraiman nightjar is 21 to 22.4 cm (8.3 to 8.8 in) long. Males weigh 30 to 40 g (1.1 to 1.4 oz) and females 45 to 48 g (1.6 to 1.7 oz). The male's upperparts are blackish brown with cinnamon and grayish spots. The tail feathers are dark brown; the outermost three pairs have faint but broad pale buff bars and two pairs have large white spots at their tips. The wings are mostly dark brown with a thin white bar near the end and white spots near the body. The chin and upper throat are dark brown, the lower throat white, the breast dark brown with pale buff bars, and the belly and flanks pale buff with brown bars. The female is more brownish than blackish, the wing spots and bars are smaller and buffy instead of white, and the white spots on the tail are smaller.[4]

Distribution and habitat

The Roraiman nightjar is found in the tepui region at the junction of southeastern Venezuela, southwestern Guyana, and northernmost Brazil. It inhabits open areas such as savanna, clearings, and the edges of forest. In elevation it ranges between 1,280 and 1,800 m (4,200 and 5,900 ft) in Venezuela but has been recorded as low as 850 m (2,790 ft) in Guyana.[4]



The Roraiman nightjar is nocturnal. Little is known about its foraging behavior, whether it forages by sallying from the ground or a low perch and/or during continuous flight.[4]


The Roraiman nightjar's breeding phenology is unknown. It is assumed to lay one or two eggs directly on the ground like other nightjars.[4]


The Roraiman nightjar's song is "a burry hreeer, rising then falling in pitch, and repeated at intervals of 1-2 seconds."[4]


The IUCN has assessed the Roraiman nightjar as being of Least Concern. Though its population is unknown it is believed to be stable. The primary threat is habitat modification; the tepui vegetation when damaged does not regrow but is replaced by vegetation less suitable for the nightjar.[1]


  1. BirdLife International (2016). "Roraiman Nightjar Setopagis whitelyi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  2. Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P. (July 2021). "IOC World Bird List (v 11.2)". Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  3. Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, E. Bonaccorso, S. Claramunt, A. Jaramillo, D. F. Lane, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, and K. J. Zimmer. Version 24 August 2021. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithological Society. retrieved August 24, 2021
  4. West, M. and T. S. Schulenberg (2020). Roraiman Nightjar (Setopagis whitelyi), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved October 8, 2021
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