Scary Potoo Bird: An In-depth Exploration

This mysterious bird hailing from the tropics of Central and South America, the Potoo Bird , has earned itself a reputation due to its unique appearance and nocturnal habits. From its unsettling gaze to its hollow vocalizations, all aspects of this bird seem to be designed to spook.


The Potoo Bird is identifiable thanks to its round head, short neck, and long wings. Its most striking feature is its large, yellow eyes, which provide excellent night vision. The Potoo’s brown-mottled plumage helps it camouflage among the branches during the day.

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They have a wide mouth, perfect for catching insects in mid-flight. Accustomed to a nocturnal lifestyle, Potoos have a unique coiled retina to maximize low light visibility. Despite their formidable appearance, these birds are relatively harmless and shy.


The Potoo Bird’s diet mainly consists of large flying insects like beetles and moths. At night, the Potoo embarks on its hunt, its mouth is large enough to snag bats out of the air. Their wide, gaping mouths and excellent night vision equip them perfectly for this task.

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They are also known to occasionally feed on small birds and reptiles when the opportunity arises. By perching quietly on a branch, they use their superb camouflage to ambush passing insects, snatching them out of the air with a quick snap of their beak.

Potoo Characteristics
Identification Large, yellow eyes, brown-mottled plumage, wide mouth.
Food Insects, small birds, and reptiles.
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