|Image: Yanayacu Biological Station|
Closely related to nightjars and frogmouths, the Potoo is the avian equivalent of your crazy uncle. You know the one—when he shows up to the family reunion you can’t tell if he’s been hitting the bottle since 9 AM, or just coming off of another Special K bender.
|Image: Reinaldo Aguilar|
This facial expression is one of several reasons why the butler should be top of your list of suspects
|Image: Patty McGann|
Common Potoo. There are 7 species in all
At dusk, however, they spring into action. The Potoo stalks the balmy nights of Central and South America’s tropics, driving fear into the hearts of its insect prey, presumably stunning victims with its penetrating stare, much like Greek mythology’s Medusa.
|Video: James Wolfe|
Because its legs are too weak to travel along the ground, the Potoo darts to and from its perch, snapping up moths, grasshoppers, and flying beetles from the air. The examination of at least one Northern Potoo’s stomach contents revealed its ferocious appetite; researchers discovered a small bird that had been swallowed whole.
|Image: jpeter4100/Rob Jarvis|
Northern Potoo/Crazed Monster
Video: Aves Brasil
Potoos are also known as Pour-me-ones because of their bluesy call.
Judging from their eyes and the fact they already can't walk, I'd say they've had enough.
Potoo parents share the responsibility of incubating and rearing chicks, doting on their precious little birds for two months (quite a long time for a land bird) until they develop enough downy white feathers to camouflage themselves as fungus.
The Potoo is truly an odd bird. And like many of the animal kingdom’s quirkiest creatures, the Potoo has amassed a cult of followers who demonstrate their adoration with an endless stream of memes.
Ernie Allison is a freelance writer for Bird Feeders who loves researching the world’s weirdest birds. His dream is to go on a birdwatching tour of every continent.