Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus)

Common Potoo, the nocturnal bird, is known for its distinct appearance and has wide eyes that can attract attention even in dim light. The bird belongs to the family Nyctibiidae, is native to Central and South America and can be found in various habitats, including savanna, open woodlands, and forest edges.

One of the most striking features of the Common Potoo bird is their camouflage. Their brown-grey plumage is covered with a pattern of mottling that helps them blend into the bark of trees, making them extremely hard to spot. In addition, their immensely wide mouths and sharp beaks assist them in catching insects as they fly by. Unlike other birds, Common Potoos tend to remain still and blend with their surroundings during the day and become active at night when they hunt prey.

The Common Potoo mostly feed on insects, primarily moths and beetles, which they capture in-flight. They are also known to consume flying ants and termites. These birds have the ability to open their wide mouth mid-flight and snag whichever prey is in their path. They have a habit of perching on a tree branch and sit motionless, resembling a broken-up tree stump.

Common Potoos are generally solitary and prefer to spend time by themselves. They usually breed and nest in hollow trees, where they lay a single egg at a time. Both the male and female birds take turns incubating the egg. The chicks, which are born with oily brown downy feathers, grow rapidly, and their parents feed them with insects.

The Common Potoo is classified as a species of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, they are threatened by habitat loss and deforestation due to increasing human activity and climate change. It's important to maintain the bird's natural habitat, preserve their breeding grounds, and take suitable measures to ensure their protection.

In conclusion, the Common Potoo bird is an intriguing and captivating creature of the night. They have excellent camouflage, unique feeding habits, and a solitary lifestyle. It's always a privilege to be able to spot these birds and note their magnificent characteristics.

Other names

Nyctibius griseus



Common Potoo

nictibi comú



smeđokrili potu

potu obecný


Grijze Reuzennachtzwaluw


Ibijau gris


Nittibio comune


pilkasis didlėlys


nocolot szary


Серый лесной козодой

Obični potu

lelkovec urutau

Nictibio urutaú


Urutau Putusu

поту малий


közönséges álmosmadár