Skip to content

Caprimulgus nubicus

warning Vulnerable
VU (D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yuvak Dax
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

The Nubian Nightjar is classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of the small size of its population (less than 250 mature individuals). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Critically Endangered (CR). The improvement in the status of the species reflects stabilization and expansion of the population to the northern Arava.
VU Current Regional Assessment | CR Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Desert Plains, Salt Marsh
Presence In Israel Resident
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Short Range / Partial
Zoographical Zones Sudani
Landscape Types Plains & Valleys, Salt Marsh
Vegetation Densities Medium
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Aerial
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Pesticide Poisoning, Habitat loss and fragmentation, Nest destruction by agricultural activity

The Nubian Nightjar has a pale rusty brown plumage, with white spots on its wings and on the tips of its tail, which are visible in flight. The sexes are similar. The male song sounds like a distant dog bark and can be heard in spring and summer. It feeds mostly on moths that it locates from the ground, using mainly its sight, and therefore is more active at dawn and dusk and on nights with strong moonlight.

The Nubian Nightjar is a rare resident and summer breeding species at the northern Arava and in the Dead Sea area. Its population is estimated at 60-70 pairs in the Sodom Basin, 10-20 pairs in the northern Arava, 5-10 pairs in the northern Dead Sea and a few pairs in the southern Arava (Haviv & Perlman 2016, Moran Bakish pers. comm., Noam Weiss pers. comm.), with a total of 75-100 pairs. Until the early 1980s, it was a relatively common breeder in extensive areas in the Arava and Dead Sea valleys, as well as in the Jordan Valley north up to Bet She’an. The drastic reduction in the number of individuals and in its range was recorded during the 1980s. At the end of the decade, the species population was assessed at 15-20 pairs in the Arava and a few pairs in the Jordan and Bet She’an valleys (Shirihai 1996).

Salt marshes with scattered tamarisk trees, rocky flats and sand dunes with sparse vegetation in desert Sudanian climate.

Habitat destruction – mainly expansion of cultivated areas at the expense of salt marshes.
Poisoning – the species was apparently affected by insecticides.
Roadkill – the species is very susceptible to roadkill because of its tendency to freeze on the spot when it is blinded by vehicle headlights and low-flying hunting behavior.
Direct disturbance – mainly by off-road vehicles.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

The core areas in which there is relatively dense Nubian Nightjar nesting should be preserved and receive statutory protection.

  • חביב, א. ופרלמן, י. 2016. סיכום ניטור תחמס נובי (Caprimulgus nubicus) במלחת סדום, קיץ 2015. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י. 2005. על מצבו של התחמס הנובי בישראל. העזניה 33, הוצאת טבע הדברים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yuvak Dax

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

Other Species

Caprimulgus europaeus
Caprimulgus aegyptius
Apus melba
Apus apus