Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus)

Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

June 18, 2012

Common Potoo

Nancy took this image while on a nighttime hike on the lodge premises while on a trip led by Brian Rapoza for the Tropical Audubon Society to Trinidad and Tobago.

Common Potoos are related to nightjars (like our Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) and White-tailed Nightjar (Hydropsalis cayennensis)) and frogmouths. They are about 14" long with a wide mouth, huge yellow eyes, and cryptic (camouflaged) plumage, with which they try to mimic the perch they are resting on. Both sexes look the same. They can be found from Nicaragua south to northern Argentina and Uruguay, in open woodlands and savannah, mostly at elevations below 6,000 feet.

They are nocturnal insectivores, hunting for flying insects from an exposed perch. When their eyes are closed, they can still see through slits in their eyelids. They are monogamous. One egg is laid without a nest, in a depression in a tree limb or stump. The parents divide brooding time evenly.

This bird is also known as the "poor-me-one" because it sings a plaintive descending whistle that has been phoneticized as "poor me, all alone"audio. (This should not be confused with the much less mournful and often slurred "pour me another one". 😉 )

Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens and EF 1.4x II extender set at 560mm. Off-camera flash was used. Camera was on f/8 for 1/500 second at ISO 1600. Exposure was increased ¾ stop in post-processing.

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