Pygmy Nightjar Nyctipolus hirundinaceus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years of three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as poorly known and probably not very common (Cleere 1998).

Trend justification

The species is tentatively assessed as being in decline due to habitat loss per Tracewski et al. (2016).

Distribution and population

This species was thought to be endemic to xeric caatinga of north-east Brazil but a population was recently discovered in east-central Brazil (Cleere and Nurney 1998, Ribon 1995, Vasconcelos and Lins 1999). There are three races: the nominate from south Piauí, south-east across Bahia and east to Alagoas; cearae from Ceará south through east Piauí to extreme north Bahia; and the newly described vielliardi from Colatina, Espírito Santo (Cleere and Nurney 1998) and Aimorés, Minas Gerais (Vasconcelos and Lins 1999).


The species largely prefers lowland deciduous forest especially with open sandy areas (Stattersfield et al. 1998), although the newly described subspecies vielliardi occurs in rocky areas (Cleere and Nurney 1998).


Caatinga habitats have suffered markedly from agricultural expansion, grazing and burning since the late 18th century (Stattersfield et al. 1998). The level of general disturbance has further increased in the last 30 years since the arrival in the area of the Brazilian oil company, Petrobrás, which has improved access, permitting an influx of settlers and relocation of many families by government agencies (Hart 1991, Stattersfield et al. 1998).


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Butchart, S., Palmer-Newton, A., Harding, M., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Nyctipolus hirundinaceus. Downloaded from on 18/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/10/2021.