White-winged Potoo (Nyctibius leucopterus)

The White-winged Potoo, also known as the Northern Potoo, is a nocturnal bird that inhabits the neotropical regions of Central and South America. Its scientific name is Nyctibius leucopterus, and it belongs to the Nyctibiidae family. This bird species gets its name from the white feathers found on its wings, which are only visible when the bird takes flight.

The White-winged Potoo is approximately 35 to 40 centimetres long with a wingspan of around 62 to 66 centimetres. It has a large head with a broad bill and a short neck, which it can rotate up to 180 degrees. It has a brownish-grey plumage, speckled with dark spots, that closely resembles tree bark, providing excellent camouflage during the day.

This bird species is a master of exquisitely elaborate camouflage, and its incredible ability to blend with the natural background makes it extremely difficult to spot during the daytime. It typically roosts on tree trunks or large branches during the day and hunts at night on the wing, feeding primarily on insects. The potoo also has a unique hunting strategy, where it perches motionless at night with its eyes half-closed, waiting for insects to come within range.

Breeding takes place between April and August, and the White-winged Potoo is monogamous, meaning it has one mate for life. The female lays a single egg on a bare branch or a tree stump, which the parents take turns incubating. The egg has a unique shape, flattened on one side, which prevents it from rolling off the narrow perch.

Although this bird species is not listed as threatened or endangered, habitat destruction and deforestation are affecting its population on a local level. Many people also take it as a pet because of its unique appearance and nocturnal habits. Illegal trade of this bird is also a significant threat to their population numbers. Conservation efforts are vital to ensure that the White-winged Potoo and its habitat are protected for future generations to enjoy.

Other names

Nyctibius leucopterus



White-winged Potoo

nictibi alablanc



bjelokrili potu

potu bělokřídlý

Hvidvinget Potu



Ibijau à ailes blanches


Nittibio alibianche


baltasparnis didlėlys


nocolot białoskrzydły


Белокрылый лесной козодой

Belokrili potu

lelkovec bielokrídly

Nictibio aliblanco

vitvingad poto

Ak Kanatlı Putu

поту білокрилий


fehérszárnyú álmosmadár