Monday, January 15, 2018

A screaming Potoo

Yup! You read that right!!


caprimulgiforms are surrounded by an aura of mystery richly
The potoos’ complex patterns of gray, black, and brown plumage resemble tree bark. During the day, the birds sleep, vertically perched and virtually indistinguishable from the dead branches they roost on. They awaken at dusk, revealing huge eyes capable of spotting moths and other flying insects in the dark. Potoos also have wide and gaping mouths for catching prey during their quick, short, and silent flights.
Although pairs of potoos may forage within a few dozen metres of one another, they are essentially solitary creatures. They are also highly restricted nesters. Instead of building a nest, they find a branch or stub with a suitable depression or crevice of just the right size to accommodate the single egg they lay. The egg is chalky white, marked with brown and gray, and is incubated by both parents for 30–35 days.
Little is known about the natural history of most species because they are so difficult to observe. One researcher noted a young common potoo (N. griseus, sometimes N. jamaicensis) wandering over the boughs of the nest tree at about four weeks of age. The same nestling made its first trial flights at 47 days and finally left the nest when 50 days old. Other reports indicate the nestling period to be 40–45 days. The young are sheltered by the parents only during the first half of this period, by which time the young potoos have attained the juvenile plumage (white mottled with brown) and are already accomplished in assuming the “broken branch” posture of adults.
Potoos’ calls are characteristic sounds of the tropical forest at night. One species, the common potoo, also called the “poor-me-one,” sings a plaintive descending whistle that has been phoneticized as “poor, me, all, alone.” Another species, the great potoo (N. grandis), belts out a distinct bawl that can disturb people unaccustomed to the nocturnal life of the tropical forest.
There are seven species of Nyctibius, and they constitute an independent family, Nyctibiidae. Potoos are related to the familiar whippoorwill of North America. All belong to the order Caprimulgiformes, a group of birds primarily active at dawn and dusk.




  1. He sure is goofy looking in that picture you posted at the end of the article. And I can identify with it, I like my afternoon naps too. :)
    They are so interesting I ended up watching two videos.

  2. At first glance I thought it looked very much like a South Carolina Whipporwill - and I see that it is related - just not near as melodious. Some people call Whipporwills "Goatsuckers" and this Potoo looks even more so.

    1. Never heard the Whips called "Goatsuckers" before! We have them here. I've heard them in the evenings, but have never been able to see one!

  3. He looks like I feel in the morning before coffee!

  4. Don't anybody move! One caress of the trigger on the .22 - and we'll have him in the pot!

    You must have some good recipes for chicken wings, CM? ;)

    1. Oh Glenn - If I look into their eyes....I'm done.. I can't pull that trigger.... (Exceptions made for the damn deer and the coyotes)