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Potoos: Nyctibiidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Potoos are nocturnal, becoming active at night. They are solitary feeders, traveling alone while they hunt for food.

During the day, potoos perch on a tree branch or trunk. The bird stands very still on a broken branch or one that slopes. In this motionless position, with its tree-like coloration, the potoo looks like a part of the tree and predators can't see the bird.

Predators that hunt and kill potoos for food include hawks, monkeys, and other mammals that can climb trees.

Even when asleep, the potoo is on the alert for predators. The potoo holds its head so that its bill is pointed upward. Its eyes appear shut, but the potoo looks out from partially open eyes. If predators get too close, the potoo flies away. The bird returns to the same perches for weeks or months.

At night, the potoo hunts for food. The bird chases prey, catching food in its mouth. The potoo then returns to its perch and eats.

Members of the potoo family are noisy at night. They sing loudly, and their calls vary by species. Calls are similar to whistles.

Potoos are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), a male and female pair up for long-term breeding. The birds build a nest in the hollow of a tree, a branch, or in a broken branch. The female lays usually one white egg there. Both parents incubate the egg, keeping it warm until it hatches. Unlike birds that sit when they incubate, potoos stand upright during incubation. The egg hatches in about thirty days, and the bird grows feathers in forty to fifty-five days.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPotoos: Nyctibiidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Potoos And People, Gray Potoo (nyctibius Griseus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS