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Meet The Great Potoos – The Funniest Looking Bird

Potoos will stay in this position all day, barely moving, and almost invisible.
Potoos will stay in this position all day, barely moving, and almost invisible.

A strange bird found in Venezuela is called a Potoo, and it has the cutest face you’ve ever seen.

Potoos Bird – you’ve probably never heard of them, but they are the funniest looking birds on this Earth.  Potoos are neotropical birds of the family Nyctibiidae. There are 7 species of potoos and all of them are recognized for their unbelievable camouflage skills. They are sometimes called poor-me-ones.

Potoo Bird calls in a mournful series of whistled notes that go down in scale.

The potoo (family Nyctibiidae) is a group of near passerine birds related to the nightjar and frogmouth. Because of their haunting calls, they are also known as Poor Me-Ones. In tropical Central and South America, there are seven species of Nyctibius.

Unlike the true nightjars, these are nocturnal insectivores without the bristles around their mouths. Like a shrike or flycatcher, they hunt from a perch. On trees stumps, they perch upright during the day to camouflage themselves. Single spotted eggs are laid directly on the stumps.

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

potoo bird

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Potoo, (genus Nyctibius)

An owl-like bird that looks like a mix of a nightjar and an owl. The yellow eyes are huge and the head is huge. Greyish-brown with splotchy patterning. With a black mustache stripe and a smaller size, Great Potoo can be distinguished.

During the day, it spends most of the time atop snags, where it blends in well and becomes nearly impossible to spot. Hunts flying insects mostly at night from a perch exposed to the elements.

Found in patches of disturbed, open forests, such as forest edges, along river banks, and roadides. As you listen, you will hear descending whistles

Potoo  Facts Overview

Habitat: Wide-ranging across species, including forests, savannas, mangroves and urban areas.
Location: Central & South America (excluding Chile).
Lifespan: No one knows! Potentially 12-14 years.
Size: Smallest species: 21–25cm. Biggest species: 46-58cm.
Weight: Smallest species: 46-58g. Biggest species: 340-652g.
Color: Pale grey to brownish
Diet: Flying insects (beetles, moths, grasshoppers and termites)
Predators: Falcons, monkeys (Howler, Capuchin, Spider).
Top Speed: No data
No. of Species:
7
Conservation Status:
Least Concern

Potoos have brown, gray, and black plumage patterns reminiscent of tree bark. The birds sleep during the day, vertically perched and virtually indistinguishable from the dead branches on which they roost.

At dusk, they awaken, revealing powerful eyes capable of spotting moths and other flying insects.

When they fly quickly, silently, and silently, potoos have wide and gaping mouths focused on catching prey.

Although potoos are sometimes seen in pairs foraging together, they are essentially solitary animals.

They nest very restrictedly as well. An egg is laid in a depression or crevice in a branch or stub rather than in a nest.

Incubation lasts 30–35 days and is chalky white with brown and gray markings.

Since most species are so difficult to observe, little is known about their natural history. About four weeks after nesting, one researcher observed a young common potoo (N. griseus, sometimes N. jamaicensis) wandering over the nest tree’s branches.

When the nestling was 47 days old, it made its first trial flight. It left the nest after 50 days. Nestlings stay in the nest for 40 to 45 days, according to other studies.

By that time the new potoos have attained the juvenile plumage (white with brown patches) and are already able to assume the position of an adult.