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Common Potoo

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Common Potoo standing on a branch at Tinamú Birding Nature Reserve in Manizales Caldas, Colombia.

Strange nocturnal bird like a mix between an owl and nightjar. Large head and huge yellow eyes. Overall greyish-brown with splotchy patterning. Black moustache stripe helps distinguish from Great Potoo, along with smaller size. It spends the daytime perched on the end of a snag, where it blends in perfectly and becomes very difficult to spot. At night, hunts mainly for flying insects from an exposed perch. Found in open forested habitats with scattered trees, such as forest edges, rivers or roadsides, or even in disturbed patchy woodland. Listen for mournful series of whistles descending in pitch: “poo, poo, poo, poo, poo.”

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