Great potoo

Great potoo
Nyctibius grandis

Photo by Philip Perry (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
great potoo (en); urutau-gigante (pt); grand ibijau (fr); nictibio grande (es); riesentagschläfer (de)

Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Nyctibiidae

This species is found from extreme southern Mexico, through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, and southwards east of the Andes down to central Bolivia, northern Paraguay and south-eastern Brazil.

These birds are 45-60 cm long and have a wingspan of 70-80 cm. They weigh 320-650 g.

The great potoo is mostly found in the canopy of lowland rainforests, also using moist savannas, second growths and plantations.

They hunt at night, mainly taking flying insects such as beetles, katydids and grasshoppers, but also bats.

Great potoos are monogamous and can possibly breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They don’t build nests, laying their single egg in a deep notch in a large tree branch. Both parents incubate the egg but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 55 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single chick per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and has a global population estimated at 500.000-5.000.000 individuals. There is no information on population trends, but the great potoo is estimated to lose 19-25% of suitable habitat over the next 2 decades, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. It is therefore expected to suffer a small decline in the near future.

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