Andean Potoo Nyctibius maculosus

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Nyctibiidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg and Guy M. Kirwan


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Andean Potoo
eBird range map for Andean Potoo

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Andean Potoo is resident in the Andes from Venezuela south to Bolivia. Within this vast region, however, it is known from few localities. This patchy distribution may reflect a truly local distribution, or may reflect the difficulties of detecting a cryptically colored, nocturnal bird in sites with few resident ornithologists. In Venezuela it is known only from a single specimen and from a sight record from two localities in Táchira, 2300-2400 m (Phelps and Phelps 1958, Kirwan and Sharpe 1999, Hilty 2003). Poorly known in Colombia, but perhaps widespread, with records from "Bogotá", from Las Ventanas in Norte de Santander, and from Llorente, in Nariño (Meyer de Schauensee 1949, Carriker 1955, Fitzpatrick and Willard 1982, Hilty and Brown 1986). Andean Potoo is reported from several sites in Ecuador, including the type specimen, said to be from Ambato, but this locality probably in error (Ridgway 1912, Chapman 1926), and also at Lamas (Tunguruua; Orces 1944), from Cordillera de Huacamayos and SierrAzul, Napo (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a), from the Río Isimanchi valley in southwestern Zamora-Chinchipe (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a), and from Achupallas, Morona-Santiago, in the Cordillera del Cóndor (Schulenberg and Awbrey 1997).Distribution in Peru of Andean Potoo. Solid circles: specimen records; open circles; sight records; dotted line: 1000 m contour (Schulenberg et al. 2006) Reported in Peru from widely scattered sites, including Lucuma, Piura (Parker et al. 1985), from Santa Cruz, Pasco (Schulenberg et al. 1984), from Tingkanari, Cuzco (Lane and Pequeño 2004), and from Pillahuata, Cuzco (Trevis 1994, Walker et al. 2006). The southernmost records of Andean Potoo are from La Paz, Bolivia (Remsen and Traylor 1983, Hennessey et al. 2003).

The elevational distribution of Andean Potoo is not well known; the lowest recorded elevation is 1400 m, in southern Peru (Walker et al. 2006), and the highest is 3200 m, in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a), but it most often is encountered between ca 1800-2800 m.

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Andean Potoo occurs in the canopy and at the edge of humid montane forest.

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and G. M. Kirwan (2012). Andean Potoo (Nyctibius maculosus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.