A medium-sized, unusually plain nightjar. Overall coloration varies from rufous to brown to gray. Both sexes have a small pale mark in the outer wing, and males have a mostly white outer tail. Breeds mainly in arid savanna, but occurs in a wide variety of open habitats as a migrant and wintering bird. Similar in appearance to several other nightjars, but identified by the combination of overall plainness, lack of white on the throat, and vocalizations. The call is a mechanical trill, higher-pitched than that of Sombre Nightjar, but lower-pitched than that of Long-tailed Nightjar.