Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

CAVS: 0331

Species Eurostopodus (Eurostopodus) argus (Hartert, 1892)

Spotted Nightjar




New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Widespread mainland Australia; rare records on Babar and Romang Is. in Lesser Sundas, Aru Is. in Arafura Sea, and Irian Jaya, but status not known; assumed to be winter visitor from Australia; all mainland Australia W of Great Dividing Range, reaching east coast north of c. 20ºS and ranging south-east to Roma, QLD, Moree, Wellington and Corowa, NSW, and Benalla and Warrnambool, VIC—accidental further south-east—also larger off-shore islands, including Prince of Wales Is., Torres Strait.

Note that conversion of the original AFD map of states, drainage basins and coastal and oceanic zones to IBRA and IMCRA regions may have produced errors. The new maps will be reviewed and corrected as updates occur. The maps may not indicate the entire distribution. See further details below.
IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)
drainage basins and coastal and oceanic zones (map not available)


NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA: Australian Alps (AA), Arnhem Coast (ARC), Arnhem Plateau (ARP), Avon Wheatbelt (AW), Brigalow Belt North (BBN), Brigalow Belt South (BBS), Broken Hill Complex (BHC), Burt Plain (BRT), Central Arnhem (CA), Carnarvon (CAR), Channel Country (CHC), Central Kimberley (CK), Central Mackay Coast (CMC), Coolgardie (COO), Cobar Peneplain (CP), Central Ranges (CR), Cape York Peninsula (CYP), Daly Basin (DAB), Darwin Coastal (DAC), Desert Uplands (DEU), Dampierland (DL), Davenport Murchison Ranges (DMR), Darling Riverine Plains (DRP), Einasleigh Uplands (EIU), Esperance Plains (ESP), Eyre Yorke Block (EYB), Finke (FIN), Flinders Lofty Block (FLB), Gascoyne (GAS), Gawler (GAW), Gibson Desert (GD), Gulf Fall and Uplands (GFU), Geraldton Sandplains (GS), Great Sandy Desert (GSD), Gulf Coastal (GUC), Gulf Plains (GUP), Great Victoria Desert (GVD), Hampton (HAM), Jarrah Forest (JF), Kanmantoo (KAN), Little Sandy Desert (LSD), MacDonnell Ranges (MAC), Mallee (MAL), Murray Darling Depression (MDD), Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD), Mount Isa Inlier (MII), Mulga Lands (ML), Murchison (MUR), Nandewar (NAN), Naracoorte Coastal Plain (NCP), New England Tablelands (NET), Northern Kimberley (NK), NSW South Western Slopes (NSS), Nullarbor (NUL), Ord Victoria Plain (OVP), Pine Creek (PCK), Pilbara (PIL), Riverina (RIV), South Eastern Highlands (SEH), South Eastern Queensland (SEQ), Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields (SSD), Stony Plains (STP), Sturt Plateau (STU), Swan Coastal Plain (SWA), Tanami (TAN), Tiwi Cobourg (TIW), Victoria Bonaparte (VB), Victorian Midlands (VM), Victorian Volcanic Plain (VVP), Warren (WAR), Wet Tropics (WT), Yalgoo (YAL)

Other Regions

Torres Strait Islands terrestrial, marine & freshwater

Original AFD Distribution Data

Australian Region

  • Australia
    • New South Wales: Bulloo River basin, Lake Eyre basin, Murray-Darling basin
    • Northern Territory
    • Queensland: Torres Strait Islands
    • South Australia
    • Victoria: Murray-Darling basin
    • Western Australia

Ecological Descriptors

Aerial, arthropod-feeder, crepuscular, hummock grassland, low open shrubland, low open woodland, low shrubland, low woodland, migratory, nocturnal, nomadic, open heath, open scrub, sand hill desert, sand plain desert, sedentary, tall open shrubland, terrestrial, territorial, tussock grassland, volant, woodland.

Extra Ecological Information

Randomly dispersed, seasonal breeder, feeds on wing at night in twisting and turning evolutions on stiffly-held, jerked wings, roosts on bare ground or among leaf litter by day, calls on wing or from ground, lays a single olive-cream ellipsoid egg sparingly marked with bold sepia and mauve on bare ground, hatchlings chestnut-downed and immatures toned moderately russet dorsally, partly sedentary and partly breeding summer migrant south of c. 25ºS, present year round further north, and occasionally straggling to winter beyond on islands in the Banda and Arafura Seas, even reaching New Ireland.


General References

Dawson, W.R. & Fisher, C.D. 1969. Responses to temperature by the Spotted Nightjar (Eurostopodus guttatus). Condor 71: 49-53 (thermoregulation)

Deignan, H.G. 1950. Two new races of the Spotted Nightjar, Eurostopodus guttatus (Vigors & Horsfield). The Emu 50: 21-23 (presenting alternative taxonomic arrangement)

Edwards, H.V. 1925. The Spotted Nightjar in coastal New South Wales. The Emu 25: 121 (occurrence)

Lea, A.M. & Gray, J.T. 1935. The food of Australian birds. An analysis of the stomach contents. Part II. The Emu 35: 63-98 (diet, in part with Eurostopodus mystacalis (Temminck, 1826))

Mack, G. 1953. Birds from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 13: 1-39 (presenting alternative taxonomic arrangement)

Mathews, G.M. 1912. A Reference-List to the Birds of Australia. Novitates Zoologicae 18: 171-455 [Date published 31 Jan 1912] (presenting alternative taxonomic arrangement also subsequent revisions)

Miller, R. 1972. Nesting habits of Spotted Nightjars. Australian Birds 7: 3-4 (nidification, voice)

Peters, J.L. 1940. Check-list of Birds of the World. Cambridge : Harvard University Press Vol. 4 xii 291 pp. (presenting alternative taxonomic arrangement)

Robinson, L.N. & Whitbourn, E.J. 1961. The nesting of two species of nightjars. Australian Bird Watcher 1: 130-135 (breeding, behaviour)

Tarr, H.E. 1948. Notes on the brooding of the Spotted Nightjar. The Emu 47: 362-367 [publication date Mathews, G.M. 1920. Dates of ornithological works. Austral Avian Records 4: 1–27 Mathews, G.M. 1925. The Birds of Australia. Supplements 4 & 5. Bibliography of the Birds of Australia Pts 1 & 2. London : H.F. & G. Witherby viii 149 pp.] (breeding, behaviour)


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)