Square-tailed Nightjar
05 34 081 Caprimulgus fossii flying m
Common Name Mozambique Nightjar
Range Sub-Saharan Africa
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Caprimulgidae
Genus Caprimulgus
Species Caprimulgus fossii
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Square-tailed nightjar or Mozambique nightjar (Caprimulgus fossii), is a species of nightjar in the Caprimulgidae family which is native to tropical and subtropical woodlands of the Afrotropics. It has an extensive range south of the African equator.


It occurs mainly south of the equator in Africa, but enters the tropics during the northern hemisphere summer. An isolated race occurs in Equatorial Guinea and western Gabon. It is a seasonal visitor to the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Tanzania, southern Kenya and southern Uganda. It occurs year round in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


This bird's call is a prolonged churring, which alternates between a fast and slow pace roughly every second. As such it differs from the similar long-tailed and slender-tailed nightjars which produce fast and slow churrs respectively.


  • Caprimulgus fossii fossii (Hartlaub, 1857): western Gabon and vicinity
  • Caprimulgus fossii griseoplurus (Clancey, 1965): Kalahari desert and vicinity, seasonal in Botswana
  • Caprimulgus fossii mossambicus (W.K.H. Peters, 1868): lowlands and lowveld from the DRC to South Africa
  • Caprimulgus fossii welwitschii (Bocage, 1867): mainly inland plateaus, Democratic Republic of the Congo to northern Namibia
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