Order
Caprimulgiformes
Family
Nyctibiidae
Genus
Nyctibius
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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version

 - Great Potoo
 - Great Potoo
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Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis

Kimberly Adams
Version: 1.0 — Published January 28, 2011

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With its characteristic drawn-out moaning growl, the vocalizations of the Great Potoo are among the most exciting and perhaps most unsettling nocturnal sounds in the Neotropics. Apart from its vocalizations, the Great Potoo is an intriguing species. Great Potoos are nocturnal and feed on large flying insects, and occasionally bats, which they capture in sallies from a high perch. During the day, they remain motionless in mimic of broken tree branches. The Great Potoo is distributed throughout humid and semihumid forested habitats in Central and South America. Across this vast region, there is little geographic variation in size or in plumage; two subspecies sometimes are recognized, but these do not differ greatly from each other. Despite the lack of conspicuous geographic variation, populations on either side of the Andes have been found to be very distinct genetically. This level of divergence is similar to the genetic divergence found between other species of potoo, pointing the possibility for ‘cryptic’ species within the Great Potoo lineage.

Distribution of the Great Potoo
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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Great Potoo

Recommended Citation

Adams, K. (2011). Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.grepot1.01