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Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Nyctibiidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Peter Voudouris

Common Potoo is a large nocturnal bird of lowland forests and forest edges of southern Central America and the lowlands of northern and central South America. During the day, Common Potoos usually roost on snags, exposed branches or fenceposts, where their disruptive coloration helps them remain avoid detection. They forage at night by sallying from exposed perches to catch flying insects. Common Potoos most frequently are detected by their amazingly haunting, descending song. They also can be located at night with a spotlight by searching for eyeshine at the tops of exposed perches. Common Potoos lay only a single egg, and do not build a nest; the egg is nestled on top of a stump or a broken branch, or in a slight depression on a large tree limb.


© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Voudouris, P. (2015). Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.