Little nightjar Caprimulgus parvulus, copyright Jairmoreirafotografia.

Belongs within: Neognathae.
Contains: Caprimulgus, Chordeiles, Nyctibiidae, Podargidae, Daedalornithes.

The Caprimulgiformes are a clade of mostly very aerial birds, uniting the ‘Caprimulgiformes’ as historically recognised with the phylogenetically embedded Apodiformes. Members of the clade are united by possession of a greatly elongated leg (crus longum) of the ulnar carpal bone (Mayr 2009). All members of the traditional Caprimulgiformes are crepuscular or nocturnal birds with wide beaks, a large gape, and soft cryptically-coloured plumage, that feed on the wing (most are insectivores; the oilbird Steatornis caripensis is frugivorous). Apodiformes have lost some of these characters, but still feed on the wing. Morphological support for the total group of Caprimulgiformes (including Apodiformes) is, however, uncertain.

Within the Caprimulgiformes, the Caprimulgidae include the nightjars. Nightjars have relatively short toes with the middle toe pectinate (Sclater 1866a). The family has historically been divided between subfamilies Caprimulginae and Chordeilinae based on the presence of strong rictal bristles around the mouth of the former, but this division has not been supported by recent phylogenetic analyses. Instead, the eared nightjars of the genus Eurostopodus represent the most basal members of the Caprimulgidae; these large Australasian nightjars lack rictal bristles and possess more or less developed ear tufts. Lurocalis is a Neotropical genus of nighthawks lacking rictal bristles with a relatively short, square tail (Sclater 1866a).

The Steatornithidae are represented in the modern fauna by a single species, the oilbird Steatornis caripensis of northern South America. This large bird, reddish-brown with white spots on the nape and wings, nest colonially in caves, using echolocation to find their way in the dark. The Fluvioviridavidae are wide-billed, fossil birds known from the Eocene of Europe and North America. The Archaeotrogonidae of the Oligocene of Europe were originally described as relatives of the trogons but later regarded as more similar to caprimulgids.

<==Caprimulgiformes [Caprimulgi, Caprimulgimorphae, Cypselomorphae, Podarginae, Strisores]
    |--Caprimulgidae [Aereae, Caprimulginae, Glabrirostres, Setirostres, Terricolae]PB15
    |    |  i. s.: Lyncornis temminckiiS55
    |    |         Nannochordeiles pusillusS55
    |    |           |--N. p. pusillusS55
    |    |           `--N. p. septentrionalisS55
    |    |         Semeiophorus Gould 1838B94
    |    |           `--S. vexillariusMMJ03
    |    |         Scotornis Swainson 1837 [Scotornithinae]B94
    |    |           `--S. climacurusS55
    |    |                |--S. c. climacurusS55
    |    |                `--S. c. clarusS55
    |    |         StenopsisS66a
    |    |           |--S. bifasciataS66b [=Caprimulgus bifasciatusS66a; incl. C. conterminusS66a, C. decussatusS66a]
    |    |           |--S. cayanensisS66b [=Caprimulgus cayanensisS66a; incl. C. cayanusS66a, C. leopetesS66a]
    |    |           |    |--S. c. cayanensisS18
    |    |           |    `--S. c. albicaudaS18
    |    |           |--S. langsdorfi Pelzeln in Sclater 1866S66b
    |    |           |--S. platura Pelzeln in Sclater 1866 [=Caprimulgus platurus]S66b
    |    |           `--S. ruficervix Sclater 1866S66a
    |    |         AntrostomusS66a
    |    |           |--A. cubanensis Lawrence 1860S66b
    |    |           |--A. macromystax [=Caprimulgus macromystax]S66a
    |    |           |--A. maculicaudus [=Stenopsis maculicaudus]S66b
    |    |           |--A. nuttalli [=Caprimulgus nuttalli]S66a
    |    |           |--A. ocellatus (see below for synonymy)S66a
    |    |           |--A. ornatus Sclater 1866S66b
    |    |           |--A. rutilusS66b
    |    |           `--A. sericeocaudatusS66b
    |    |         Ventivorus Mourer-Chauviré 1988M09, M02
    |    |           `--*V. ragei Mourer-Chauviré 1988M02
    |    |--‘Eurostopodus’ macrotisBKB15
    |    |    |--E. m. macrotisA72
    |    |    |--E. m. bourdilloniA72
    |    |    `--E. m. cervinicepsA72
    |    `--+--Eurostopodus Gould 1838BKB15, B94 [Eurostopodidae]
    |       |    |  i. s.: E. albogularisR87
    |       |    |         E. archboldiJT12
    |       |    |         E. diabolicusJT12
    |       |    |         E. guttatus (Vigors & Horsfield 1827) [=Caprimulgus guttatus]WS48
    |       |    |         E. temminckiiJT12
    |       |    |--E. papuensisBKB15
    |       |    `--+--E. argusBKB15
    |       |       `--E. mystacalisBKB15
    |       `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ enarratusBKB15
    |          `--+--+--+--CaprimulgusBKB15
    |             |  |  `--ChordeilesBKB15
    |             |  `--+--SiphonorhisBKB15
    |             |     |    |--S. americanus (Linnaeus 1758)S66a, L58 [=Caprimulgus americanusS66a]
    |             |     |    `--S. brewsteriJT12 [=S. americanus brewsteriFP64]
    |             |     `--+--NyctiphrynusBKB15
    |             |        |    |--N. rosenbergiBKB15
    |             |        |    `--+--N. mcleodiiBKB15
    |             |        |       `--+--N. ocellatusBKB15
    |             |        |          `--N. yucatanicusBKB15
    |             |        `--+--Phalaenoptilus nuttalliiBKB15
    |             |           `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ saturatusBKB15
    |             |              |  `--‘Caprimulgus’ vociferusBKB15 [=Antrostomus vociferusS66a]
    |             |              `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ ridgwayiBKB15
    |             |                 `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ salviniBKB15
    |             |                    `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ carolinensisBKB15 [=Antrostomus carolinensisS66a]
    |             |                       `--‘Caprimulgus’ rufusBKB15 [=Antrostomus rufusS66a; incl. Ca. cortopaoS66a]
    |             `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ sericocaudatusBKB15
    |                `--+--LurocalisBKB15
    |                   |    |--L. rufiventrisBKB15
    |                   |    `--+--L. nattereriBKB15 [=Caprimulgus nattereriS66a, Chordeiles nattereriS66a]
    |                   |       `--L. semitorquatusBKB15 (see below for synonymy)
    |                   `--+--NyctiprogneBKB15
    |                      |    |--N. leucopygaBKB15
    |                      |    `--N. vielliardiJT12
    |                      `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ nigrescensBKB15 [=Antrostomus nigrescensS66a, Stenopsis nigrescensS66a]
    |                         |  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ anthonyiBKB15
    |                         |     `--Nyctidromus Gould 1838BKB15, B94 [Nyctidrominae]
    |                         |          `--N. albicollisBKB15 (see below for synonymy)
    |                         |               |--N. a. albicollisFS55
    |                         |               `--N. a. intercedensFS55
    |                         `--+--UropsalisBKB15
    |                            |    |--U. lyraBKB15
    |                            |    `--U. segmentataBKB15
    |                            `--+--+--‘Caprimulgus’ longirostrisBKB15 (see below for synonymy)
    |                               |  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ parvulus Gould 1837BKB15, S66a (see below for synonymy)
    |                               |     `--‘Caprimulgus’ whitelyiBKB15
    |                               `--+--EleothreptusBKB15
    |                                  |    |--E. anomalus (Gould 1837)BKB15, S66a (see below for synonymy)
    |                                  |    `--E. candicansJT12 (see below for synonymy)
    |                                  `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ maculicaudusBKB15
    |                                     `--+--‘Caprimulgus’ cayennensisBKB15
    |                                        `--HydropsalisBKB15
       |  `--Steatornithidae [Steatornithes, Steatornithiformes, Steatornithinae]PB15
       |       |--Prefica Olson 1987PB15, M02 [Preficinae]
       |       |    `--P. nivea Olson 1987M03
       |       `--Steatornis Humboldt 1814B94
       |            `--S. caripensisPB15 [incl. Caprimulgus steatornisS66a]
          |  `--FluvioviridavidaeM05b
          |       |--Fluvioviridavis Mayr & Daniels 2001PB15, M05b
          |       |    `--F. platyrhamphus Mayr & Daniels 2001M05b
          |       `--Eurofluvioviridavis Mayr 2005M05b
          |            `--*E. robustipes Mayr 2005M05b
Caprimulgiformes incertae sedis:
    |--Hassiavis Mayr 1998M04
    |    `--*H. laticauda Mayr 1998M02
    `--Archaeotrogon Milne-Edwards 1892M02
         |--*A. venustus Milne-Edwards 1892M02, M09
         |--A. cayluxensis (Lydekker 1891) [=Palaeortyx cayluxensis, Ludiortyx cayluxensis]M02
         |--A. hoffstetteri Mourer-Chauviré 1980M09
         |--A. nocturnus Mlíkovský 2002 (see below for synonymy)M02
         `--A. zitteli Gaillard 1908M09
  Microena Harrison & Walker 1977M05a
    `--*M. goodwini Harrison & Walker 1977M02
  Protocypselomorphus manfredkelleri Mayr 2005M09

Antrostomus ocellatus [=Caprimulgus ocellatus; incl. C. brasilianus, C. brasiliensis, C. lunulatus Natt. in Sclater 1866 (n. n.)]S66a

Archaeotrogon nocturnus Mlíkovský 2002 [=A. cayluxensis Gaillard 1908 non Palaeortyx cayluxensis Lydekker 1891]M02

‘Caprimulgus’ longirostrisBKB15 [=Antrostomus longirostrisS66a, Stenopsis longirostrisS66a]

‘Caprimulgus’ parvulus Gould 1837BKB15, S66a [=Antrostomus parvulusS66a; incl. C. mixtusS66a]

Eleothreptus anomalus (Gould 1837)BKB15, S66a [=Amblypterus anomalusS66a, Heleothreptus anomalusS66a]

Eleothreptus candicansJT12 [=Caprimulgus candicansBKB15, Stenopsis candicansS66b; incl. C. leucurusS66b]

Lurocalis semitorquatusBKB15 [=Caprimulgus semitorquatusS66a, Chordeiles semitorquatusS66a; incl. Podager gouldiS66a]

Nyctidromus albicollis BKB15 [=Caprimulgus albicollisS66a; incl. N. affinisS66a, N. americanus Cassin 1851S66a, N. derbyanusS66a, N. grallariusS66a, Caprimulgus guianensisS66a, N. guianensisS66a]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A72] Abdulali, H. 1972. A catalogue of the birds in the collection of the Bombay Natural History Society—11. Strigidae and Caprimulgidae. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (1): 102–129.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[FS55] Felten, H., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Zur Vogelfauna von El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (1–2): 9–19.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[M03] Mayr, G. 2003. On the phylogenetic relationships of trogons (Aves, Trogonidae). Journal of Avian Biology 34 (1): 81–88.

[M04] Mayr, G. 2004. New specimens of Hassiavis laticauda (Aves: Cypselomorphae) and Quasisyndactylus longibrachis (Aves: Alcediniformes) from the Middle Eocene of Messel, Germany. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 252: 23–28.

[M05a] Mayr, G. 2005a. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

[M05b] Mayr, G. 2005b. A Fluvioviridavis-like bird from the Middle Eocene of Messel, Germany. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 42: 2021–2037.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[MMJ03] Mayr, G., A. Manegold & U. S. Johansson. 2003. Monophyletic groups within ‘higher land birds’—comparison of morphological and molecular data. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 41: 233–248.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[PB15] Prum, R. O., J. S. Berv, A. Dornburg, D. J. Field, J. P. Townsend, E. M. Lemmon & A. R. Lemmon. 2015. A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing. Nature 526: 569–573.

[R87] Ramsay, E. P. 1887. Descriptions of Australian birds’ eggs. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1141–1152, pl. 19.

[S66a] Sclater, P. L. 1866a. Notes upon the American Caprimulgidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 123–145.

[S66b] Sclater, P. L. 1866b. Additional notes on the Caprimulgidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 581–590.

[S55] Steinbacher, J. 1955. Über die Schwanzmauser der Eulen (Strigidae) und Nachtschwalben (Caprimulgidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 36: 235–240.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239–280.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

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