The potoo’s eyelids have slits that let them see even when their eyes are closed.
Potoo Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Nyctibius bracteatus, Nyctibius grandis, Nyctibius aethereus, Nyctibius leucopterus, Nyctibius maculosus, Nyctibius griseus, Nyctibius jamaicensis
Potoo Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Red, Black, White
Possibly in the millions, though the population trend of the common potoo is decreasing. The conservation status of the seven species of potoos is least concern.
10 years
12.69 to 22.91 ounces
Potoo Distribition

” The Ghost Bird of South America”

If you are ever before in a South or Central American jungle in the evening and listen to a spinal column- prickling noise that advises you of a grief-stricken or upset ghost, do not fret. It’s (most likely) absolutely nothing mythological however is the noise made by an unusual bird called the potoo. This old bird was as soon as located throughout the globe in primitive times now is located just in the New Globe. Regardless of its weird appearance and the even complete stranger appears it makes, the potoo is safe to anything that it does not take into consideration target.

4 Fantastic Realities Regarding the Potoo

Right here are 4 outstanding realities concerning this remarkable if frightening looking bird.

  1. Its mouth is so huge it does not require to tear its target apart however can ingest it entire.
  2. It does not fly throughout the day however acts to be a busted tree branch.
  3. Potoos can be distinguished their relatives the nightjars since they do not have bristles around the mouth.
  4. Potoos are likewise relatively very closely pertaining to hummingbirds.

Where To Discover the Potoo

The potoo is located primarily in the woodlands of Central and South America, though there are populaces in Mexico and Hispaniola. They are located beside woodlands and within exotic rain forests, though they have actually likewise been located on ranches where they effectively mimic fencing blog posts.

Potoo Nests

Potoos do not construct nests. They just locate a clinical depression in a busted- off branch that’s vast and deep sufficient to hold an egg, and the female just plunks an egg right into it.

Potoo Scientific Name

The potoo comes from the Aves class, which includes all birds. It likewise comes from the Nyctibiformes family, and the Nyctibius genus. These 2 words originated from the Greek nuktos, which suggests “evening” and biographies, which suggests “to live.” So the name suggests “evening- living.” The enunciation of the genus is nye TIB ee us, while the enunciation of the family is nye tib ee type ez. There are 7 potoo species. They are:

1. Nyctibius bracteatus
2. Nyctibius grandis
3. Nyctibius aethereus
4. Nyctibius leucopterus
5. Nyctibius maculosus
6. Nyctibius griseus
7. Nyctibius jamaicensis

N. jamaicensis, N. aethereus and N. griseus all have subspecies.

Potoo Appearance

Depending upon the species, the potoo’s appearance varies from just weird to, when it comes to the beady- considered, pouch- mouthed wonderful potoo, genuinely frightening. What they all share are the shades of their tuft which can be found in tones of grey, white and black to aid camouflage them versus tree arm or legs. Their heads, tails and wings are huge symmetrical to their bodies, and the dimension of their mouths, when opened up, is substantial. When a potoo’s mouth is shut its dimension is concealed by the bird’s small beak. Not just is the mouth huge, however there’s a tooth on a side of the top jaw that assists the bird forage. One more attribute, even more noticeable also than the mouth, are the bird’s eyes. They are substantial, frightening and show the light of lanterns. The irises are yellow or brownish and the student of one eye can be a various dimension than the student of the various other. Occasionally the student resembles it swallows up the whole eyeball, that makes the bird appearance instead unbelievable.

Sometimes there are albino potoos. These albino birds have pure white plumes and red eyes, that makes them look extra like a ghost than their other “ghost birds.” Occasionally albino potoos are marketed as pets.

Also the chick is well masked prior to it fledges. Infant potoos appearance quite like little bits of lichen on the stump where they were hatched out.

Common potoo
Several see the potoo’s eyes as scary and haunting.Fabio Maffei/Shutterstock.com

Potoo Actions

Potoos are singular and evasive birds and are primarily energetic in the evening. Throughout the day they hinge on busted tree arm or legs or things that resemble them, and straighten their bodies so flawlessly with the timber and rest so motionlessly that they appear to go away. If a killer does locate one, the bird ices up much more. If this resembles it will not function, the potoo opens its eyes and its mouth, which must surprise a would certainly- be killer sufficient to permit the bird to just fly away.

Potoos search in the evening, stroking down upon target from their perch.

Potoo Diet

Potoos eat huge insects. The wonderful potoo, the biggest of the birds, in some cases takes smaller sized birds and bats too.

Predators and Risks

The potoo is a huge bird, however it is sill based on predation. Amongst its predators are monkeys, consisting of capuchin and spider monkeys, marmosets, tayras, which are South American weasels and predators such as the collared woodland falcon.

Reproduction, Infants, and Life-span

Potoos are virginal and type throughout the damp period in their environment. After both companions the female lays one lavender- found egg in a safe divot in a stump of the tree where they currently roost. The moms and dads take transforms nurturing the egg, however males and females look a lot alike that researchers have a difficult time informing whether it’s the mommy or dad that goes to the nest at any type of one-time. Just one moms and dad often tends to the infant at once. The egg hatches after concerning a month. Initially the chick looks like a tuft of lichen or mold and mildew, however as it begins to fledge it starts to embrace the sharp habits of its moms and dads. After concerning a month the chick leaves the area where it was hatched out to check out. It just sees its moms and dads after dark which is when they bring it food. After concerning 2 months the chick has actually left the location completely. It’s thought that the potoo has a life expectancy of concerning ten years.

Potoo Population

Potoos are bountiful and many have an extremely wide variety. Since 2022 there went to the very least 500,000 usual potoos alone. Nevertheless, the populaces of these birds remain in decrease, despite the fact that every one of them are provided since least concern.


  1. , Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=177955#null
  2. , Available here: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/22689646
  3. , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potoo
  4. , Available here: https://carnegiemnh.org/press/common-potoo-bird-migratory/
  5. , Available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkIlrNAGXQM

Relate animals

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

They are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pig

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.


The Albertonectes had the longest neck out of other Elasmosaurids.

American Bully

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!

Latest Animal News