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Species Guide

Barred Owlet-nightjar

Aegotheles bennettii

The barred owlet-nightjar, scientifically known as Aegotheles bennettii, is a diminutive and elusive bird, cloaked in a plumage of dark grey with delicate buff vermiculations. Its pale underside is adorned with dark barring, and its face is highlighted by broad buff eyebrows. Both male and female share a similar appearance, and the bird's length ranges from 20 to 23 cm, with a weight hovering around 45 to 47 grams.

Identification Tips

When endeavoring to identify the barred owlet-nightjar, look for its distinctive dark grey back with buff patterns and the contrasting pale belly with dark bars. The broad buff eyebrows are a key feature to distinguish it from other species. Its size is relatively small, and the sexes are similar, which can make identification challenging without a keen eye for detail.


The barred owlet-nightjar is a denizen of the tropical moist lowland forests, often found at the forest edge. It thrives up to elevations of 1,100 meters, or 800 meters for the nominate race, embracing the dense foliage as its home.


This species is endemic to New Guinea, with three subspecies scattered across the region: the nominate from southeastern New Guinea, A. b. wiedenfeldi from northern New Guinea, and A. b. plumifer from the D’Entrecasteaux Islands.


The barred owlet-nightjar is known to nest in dead trunks, a testament to its secretive nature. Observations of its behavior are scarce, but it is presumed to be nocturnal like its relatives.


A nest of the barred owlet-nightjar has been discovered within a dead trunk, revealing a clutch of pristine white eggs. The known clutch size for this species is two eggs, although further details of its breeding habits remain shrouded in mystery.

Conservation status

The barred owlet-nightjar is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. This status reflects the bird's stable population and the extensive tracts of suitable habitat that remain intact, offering a sanctuary for this species to continue thriving.

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Barred Owlet-nightjars on Birda


More Owlet-nightjars

A photo of a Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus)

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Aegotheles cristatus
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