Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Long-tailed Potoo Nyctibius aethereus

Sulli Gibson
Version: 1.0 — Published November 14, 2014


Distribution in the Americas

Long-tailed Potoo is resident, with a somewhat disjunct and patchy distribution, being found very locally in western Colombia; across much of Amazonia, north to eastern Venezuela and the Guianas; and again in the Atlantic Forest region of eastern South America. Long-tailed Potoo is represented by about 60 museum specimens from scattered localities throughout tropical South America. Historically, the potoo is known from a varied collection of locales in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina (Parker et al. 1996). Recently, however, there are confirmed records from many localities, including countries from which it previously was not known (e.g. French Guiana; Pelletier et al. 2006). These new records likely do not represent a range expansion but rather a more concerted efforts to find this species in suitable habitat. Long-tailed Potoo probably occurs throughout the entire Amazon basin.

Long-tailed Potoo primarily occurs in the lowlands, e.g. the upper elevational limit in Ecuador is only 700 m in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a). It also occurs in Peru up to at least 750 n (Mee et al. 2002), although there are unconfirmed reports to as high as 1500 m (Schulenberg et al. 2010).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to South America.


Long-tailed Potoo occurs in the understory to subcanopy of tropical lowland evergreen forests, usually inhabiting forest interiors (Parker et al. 1996, Cleere 1998, Pelletier et al. 2006). These forests can range from very wet to relatively dry (Cohn-Haft 1999).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Long-tailed Potoo - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Long-tailed Potoo

Recommended Citation

Gibson, S. (2014). Long-tailed Potoo (Nyctibius aethereus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.lotpot1.01