Potoos are a fascinating family of nocturnal birds occurring from Central to South America and parts of the Caribbean. The Great Potoo (this photo taken by Adam Riley in Brazil’s incomparable Pantanal) is the largest of the 7 potoos, and is in fact the largest member of the order Caprimulgiformes (nightjars, frogmouths and allies.) Potoos hunt at night from still perches, sallying out in flycatcher fashion, but during the day they become masters of camouflage. Their diurnal hours are spent in “stump-lookalike mode”. As can be seen from this image, they find a branch that perfectly merges with their cryptic plumage where they remain dead-still, even when closely approached. What is even more fascinating is that potoos have developed unique slits in their eyelids in order to detect motion without having to open their massive orange eyes, which would otherwise ruin their remarkable façade.
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