A common, medium-sized owlet-nightjar of lowland and foothill forests. Dark gray with fine barring over the whole body. A black central crown stripe, black eyebrows reaching the back of the neck and a pale collar. The similar Australian Owlet-Nightjar co-occurs, but Barred Owlet-Nightjar is darker and lacks the pale cheek. Voice, a short, raspy, falling “kiyo!” or low “wak!” repeated several times.