Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Little Nightjar Setopagis parvula

Kaiya Provost
Version: 1.0 — Published April 17, 2015


Distribution in the Americas

Little Nightjar occurs in central and north central South America east of the Andes, from eastern Peru east, south of the Amazon, to northeastern Brazil, and south to northern Argentina and Uruguay (Sick 1993, Cleere 1998, Mazar Barnett and Pearman 2001, Hennessey et al. 2003, Schulenberg et al. 2010).

Little Nightjar is migratory to some extent, but the seasonality and geography of its migrations are not well known. Mazar Barnett and Pearman (2001) consider it to be a partial austral migrant in Argentina, implying that it moves north after breeding but that it does not completely vacate that country. Belton (1984), however, found it to be present in southernmost Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) only from late October to mid February. Wetmore (1926) reported that it arrived in Paraguay in mid September. Sick (1993) noted that it appeared "in large numbers" in Minais Gerais, eastern Brazil, in October. The status of Little Nightjar in Peru also is not clear; there are breeding records from that country, but in much of Peru it appears to be primarily an austral migrant (Schulenberg et al. 2010). Henneseey et al. (2003) also consider Little Nightjar to be an austral migrant to Bolivia, although Brace and Hornbuckle (1998) report a nesting record from Bolivia.

Little Nightjar occurs in the lowlands (Schulenberg et al. 2010), with an elevational range in Bolivia of 200-1500 m (Hennessey et al. 2003).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Little Nightjar occupies open woodland and forests and woodlands and brushy savannas (campos sujos) (Sick 1993, Cleere 1998). It also occurs in modified habitats, such as groves of non-native eucalyptus (Belton 1984). At one site at a chaco woodland in northern Argentina, Little Nightjars demonstrated a tendency to prefer forest edges to the forest interior, but this difference is not significant statistically (Lopez de Casenave et al. 1998).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Little Nightjar - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Little Nightjar

Recommended Citation

Provost, K. (2015). Little Nightjar (Setopagis parvula), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.litnig1.01