Rufous Potoo Nyctibius bracteatus

  • © Roger Ahlman

Despite its very striking plumage, deep rufous with bold white spotting over the scapulars and the underparts, this small potoo is extremely difficult to spot, without very detailed knowledge of where an individual is roosting. The Rufous Potoo is found in the understory, where during the day the bird rocks back and forth on its perch, thereby heightening its resemblance to a dead leaf. Long virtually unknown in life, only recently has the species’ breeding biology been elucidated based on observations in French Guiana. Its range and vocalizations too are still poorly known, although the Rufous Potoo is now understood to range from eastern Peru to the Guianas and southern Venezuela, where it principally (perhaps solely) inhabits forests on nutrient-poor soils. Nonetheless, the species is rarely encountered and easily overlooked in its lowland haunts. It seems to sing virtually exclusively around the period of the full moon.

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© Thiago V. V. Costa

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

Recommended Citation

Rufous Potoo (Nyctibius bracteatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: