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This large and proportionately long-tailed potoo species is rarely seen. Long-tailed Potoo has 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; each of these three regions is occupied by a different subspecies. It occurs to at least 1200 m in the Atlantic Forest region. Throughout much of its range, Long-tailed Potoo apparently is rare and local, with only a handful of known locations at which it can be found reliably. At some sites, Long-tailed can be found together with at least two, sometimes as many as four, other Nyctibius species, of which the commoner Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) is the species with which it perhaps most likely to be confused. Like other potoos, however, Long-tailed Potoo is perhaps most likely to be first detected by voice, a soft, undulating waa-OO-uh, which is quite different from that of other species of Nyctibius.