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Urutau - Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) | by Ilan Ejzykowicz
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Urutau - Potoo (Nyctibius griseus)

The Potoo is a nocturnal bird which breeds in tropical Central and South America from Nicaragua to northern Argentina and northern Uruguay.


This potoo is a large cypselomorph bird related to the nightjars and frogmouths, but like other potoos it lacks the bristles around the mouth found in the true nightjars. It is 33–38 cm long and pale greyish to brown, finely patterned with black and buff, camouflaged to look like a log; this is a safety measure to help protect it from predators, but its mode of perch is also a camouflage. It has large orange eyes.


This nocturnal insectivore hunts from a perch like a shrike or flycatcher. During the day it perches upright on a tree stump, and is completely invisible, looking like part of the stump because it stays so completely still as it perches.

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Taken on February 21, 2013