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European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,550,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 6,550,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 5.6 - - -
Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 470,000-1,000,000 breeding pairs, equating to 1,410,000-3,000,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 50-74% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 2,000,000-6,000,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, pesticide use reducing the availability of food, and disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1999).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Native Extant Yes      
Albania Native Extant Yes      
Algeria Native Extant        
Andorra Native Extant Yes      
Angola Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Austria Native Extant Yes      
Azerbaijan Native Extant Yes      
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes  
Belarus Native Extant Yes      
Belgium Native Extant Yes      
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant Yes      
Botswana Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Burundi Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant Yes      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Côte d'Ivoire Vagrant Extant        
Croatia Native Extant Yes      
Cyprus Native Extant Yes      
Czech Republic Native Extant Yes      
Denmark Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Djibouti Native Extant        
Egypt Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Estonia Native Extant Yes      
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant        
Finland Native Extant Yes   Yes  
France Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Gabon Native Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Georgia Native Extant Yes      
Germany Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Ghana Vagrant Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant        
Greece Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Hungary Native Extant Yes      
Iceland Vagrant Extant        
India Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Iraq Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Ireland Native Extant Yes      
Israel Native Extant Yes      
Italy Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Jordan Native Extant     Yes  
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes  
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes      
Latvia Native Extant Yes      
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes  
Lesotho Native Extant        
Liberia Vagrant Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Native Extant Yes      
Lithuania Native Extant Yes      
Luxembourg Native Extant Yes      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant Yes      
Malawi Native Extant        
Mali Vagrant Extant        
Malta Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Moldova Native Extant Yes      
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
Montenegro Native Extant Yes      
Morocco Native Extant        
Mozambique Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant Yes      
Niger Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Norway Native Extant Yes      
Oman Native Extant     Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant Yes      
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes  
Poland Native Extant Yes      
Portugal Native Extant Yes      
Qatar Native Extant     Yes  
Romania Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes      
Rwanda Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant     Yes  
Senegal Vagrant Extant        
Serbia Native Extant Yes      
Seychelles Vagrant Extant        
Sierra Leone Vagrant Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant Yes      
Slovenia Native Extant Yes      
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Native Extant        
South Sudan Native Extant     Yes  
Spain Native Extant Yes      
Sudan Native Extant        
Swaziland Native Extant        
Sweden Native Extant Yes      
Switzerland Native Extant Yes      
Syria Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Tajikistan Native Extant Yes      
Tanzania Native Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant Yes      
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes      
Uganda Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant Yes   Yes  
United Arab Emirates Native Extant     Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes      
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant     Yes  
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Austria Central Marchfeld site factsheet
Austria Lower Kamp valley site factsheet
Austria Lower valley of the Gail site factsheet
Austria North-eastern Leithagebirge site factsheet
Austria Steinfeld site factsheet
Austria Thermenlinie site factsheet
Austria Villacher Alpe-Dobratsch site factsheet
Belgium Gebieden gelegen te Peer en Hechtel-Eksel site factsheet
Belgium Gebieden ten noorden van Turnhout en Ravels site factsheet
Belgium Kalmthoutse Heide site factsheet
Belgium Sinémurienne site factsheet
Belgium Vallei van de Zwarte Beek site factsheet
Bulgaria Byala Reka site factsheet
Bulgaria Central Balkan site factsheet
Bulgaria Dobrostan site factsheet
Bulgaria Kamchiyska Mountain site factsheet
Bulgaria Ludogorie site factsheet
Bulgaria Provadiysko-Royaksko plateau site factsheet
Bulgaria Rila site factsheet
Bulgaria Western Balkan site factsheet
Bulgaria Western Rhodopes site factsheet
Croatia Peljesac peninsula and islands site factsheet
Cyprus Adelphoi Forest - Papoutsa site factsheet
Cyprus Akamas and Agia Aikaterini – Agia Paraskevi Gorges site factsheet
Cyprus Kormakitis Peninsula site factsheet
Cyprus Mahairas Forest - Tzionia site factsheet
Cyprus Pafos Forest site factsheet
Czech Republic Bzenecka Doubrava-Straznicke Pomoravi site factsheet
Czech Republic Ceskolipsko - Dokeské pískovce sandstones and wetlands site factsheet
Czech Republic Doupov hills site factsheet
Czech Republic Trebonsko (Trebon region) site factsheet
Estonia Luitemaa site factsheet
Estonia Nõva-Osmussaar site factsheet
Estonia Põhja-Liivimaa site factsheet
Estonia Soomaa site factsheet
Estonia Taarikõnnu-Kaisma site factsheet
Finland Nuuksio site factsheet
France Arjuzanx site factsheet
France Barois et Forêt de Clairvaux site factsheet
France Basses Corbières site factsheet
France Brenne centrale site factsheet
France Brenne: Forêt de Lancosme site factsheet
France Chaîne des Alpilles site factsheet
France Côte Médocaine: dunes boisées et dépressions humides site factsheet
France Estuaire de la Canche site factsheet
France Estuaires picards : baies de Somme et d'Authie site factsheet
France Etangs de Sologne: St Viatre, Marcilly-en-Gault et forêt de Bruadan site factsheet
France Forêt d'Orléans: massifs d'Ingrannes et de Lorris site factsheet
France Forêt de Haguenau site factsheet
France Forêts du Perche site factsheet
France Forêts picardes : massif des Trois Forêts et bois du Roi site factsheet
France Gorges de la Dourbie et causses avoisinants site factsheet
France Haut Val d'Allier site factsheet
France Hautes Corbières site factsheet
France Hautes garrigues du Montpellierais site factsheet
France Le Pinail, Forêt de Moulière et bois du Défens site factsheet
France Les Couzes Nord site factsheet
France Marais et forêt d'Olonne site factsheet
France Massif du Canigou-Carança site factsheet
France Massif du Petit Lubéron site factsheet
France Massifs de Fontainebleau et zones humides adjacentes site factsheet
France Montagne de la Clape site factsheet
France Montagne Sainte-Victoire site factsheet
France Parc National de la Vanoise site factsheet
France Parc National des Ecrins site factsheet
France Plateau Ardennais site factsheet
France Plateaux de Millevaches et de Gentioux site factsheet
France Vallée de l'Aube, de la Superbe et Marigny site factsheet
France Vallée de la Durance : de Tallard à Sisteron site factsheet
France Vallée de la Loire : gorges de la Loire site factsheet
France Vallée du Régino site factsheet
France Vallées de la Scarpe et de l'Escaut site factsheet
Italy Apennines from Passo del Cerreto to Monte Caligi site factsheet
Italy Foreste Casentinesi site factsheet
Italy Magredi of Pordenone site factsheet
Italy Mount Beigua site factsheet
Italy Mount Grappa site factsheet
Italy Piave river site factsheet
Italy Taro river site factsheet
Italy Ticino river site factsheet
Latvia Kemeri national park site factsheet
Latvia Slitere and Zilie kalni site factsheet
Latvia Teici and Pelecare bogs site factsheet
Lithuania Asveja Regional Park site factsheet
Lithuania Dzukija National Park site factsheet
Lithuania Initial area of Aukstaitija NP site factsheet
Lithuania Labanoras Regional Park site factsheet
Lithuania Simonys & Ramuldava forest complex site factsheet
Netherlands Brabantse Wal site factsheet
Netherlands De Hamert/Bergerbossen site factsheet
Netherlands De Utrecht site factsheet
Netherlands Leenderbos and Groote Heide site factsheet
Netherlands Veluwe site factsheet
Poland Augustów forest site factsheet
Poland Biala Forest site factsheet
Poland Bialowieza Forest site factsheet
Poland Forest at Gwda River site factsheet
Poland Janów forests site factsheet
Poland Lower Silesia Forests site factsheet
Poland Lukow Forests site factsheet
Poland Notec Forest site factsheet
Poland Omulew and Plodownica Rivers Valleys site factsheet
Poland Pisz forest site factsheet
Poland Sandomierz Forest site factsheet
Poland Solska Forest site factsheet
Poland Tuchola Forest site factsheet
Portugal Tejo estuary site factsheet
Romania Aliman - Adamclisi site factsheet
Romania Almăjului Mountains - Locvei site factsheet
Romania Cursul Mijlociu al Someşului site factsheet
Romania Dealurile Târnavelor - Valea Nirajului site factsheet
Romania Defileul Inferior al Mureşului site factsheet
Romania Domogled - Cernei valley site factsheet
Romania Fizes valley site factsheet
Romania Măcin - Niculiţel site factsheet
Romania Nerei gorge - Beuşniţa site factsheet
Romania Podişul Hârtibaciului site factsheet
Russia (European) Kilemarski Reserve site factsheet
Serbia Deliblatska pescara site factsheet
Serbia Sara mountain site factsheet
Serbia Subotica lakes and sandy terrain site factsheet
Slovakia Bukovské hills site factsheet
Slovakia Laborecka upland site factsheet
Slovakia Nízke Tatry site factsheet
Slovakia Slovenský karst site factsheet
Slovakia Velká Fatra site factsheet
Slovenia Banjšice plateau site factsheet
Slovenia Karst site factsheet
Slovenia Snežnik plateau and Pivka valley site factsheet
Slovenia Vipavski rob site factsheet
Spain Mountains of Barcelona site factsheet
Sweden Hanveden-Hemfosa site factsheet
Sweden Tarnan-Riala forest site factsheet
Ukraine Kremenets'kyj forest site factsheet
Ukraine Samars'kyj forest site factsheet
Ukraine Velyka Osokorovka site factsheet
United Kingdom Ashdown Forest site factsheet
United Kingdom Breckland site factsheet
United Kingdom Cannock Chase site factsheet
United Kingdom Dorset Heaths and Forests site factsheet
United Kingdom East Devon Heaths site factsheet
United Kingdom Exmoor Coast and Heaths site factsheet
United Kingdom Haldon Forest site factsheet
United Kingdom Laughton Forest site factsheet
United Kingdom Minsmere - Walberswick site factsheet
United Kingdom New Forest site factsheet
United Kingdom North Yorkshire Moors site factsheet
United Kingdom Poole Harbour site factsheet
United Kingdom Sherwood Forest site factsheet
United Kingdom Suffolk Sandlings site factsheet
United Kingdom Thames Basin Heaths site factsheet
United Kingdom Thorne and Hatfield Moors site factsheet
United Kingdom Wealden Heaths site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Forest Temperate suitable breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable breeding
Shrubland Temperate suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 2800 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Caprimulgus europaeus. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Caprimulgidae (Nightjars)
Species name author Linnaeus, 1758
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,550,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment