Monday, July 18, 2016
Potoo - Adorable Bird of Death
There are a number of magnificent and sometimes strange bird species in the wild. Some come in magnificent colours and a charming, sweet voice, while others are more known for their odd attributes. Take for example the bird known as Potoo. Not only does their name sound strange, they also look strange, and even sound strange. This is a short article about this bird, what it looks like, and the local legends of this majestic bird.
As the moon rises in Central America and Northern South America, this rare bird flies over the wetlands and forests. Potoos belong to the family Nyctibiidae are related closely to frogmouths and nightjars, although they lack the bristles around their mouth are which separates them from true nightjars. There are several species of this bird found in Central and South America. Some of these birds do dwell in the southern most regions of south America, but rarely are they seen there.
These birds are known for their eerie and unusual appearance. They’re big, growing to about 21 to 58 cm in length. They resemble nightjars and frogmouths. They have large heads for their body size and long tail feathers and wings. Their large heads are dominated by their massive, brad bill and huge eyes that are bright yellow in color. In fact, the classic book “Handbook of the Birds of the World” describes the potoo as nothing more than a flying mouth with eyes. This actually makes them look adorable, yet creepy at the same time. Their bill, while broad and large, is short and barely projects past their face. It’s delicate and has a unique “tooth” which is used by the bird as a cutting edge to help with foraging. As mentioned, they lack the rictal bristles around the mouth as nightjars have. Their legs and feet are not that strong and are only used for perching.
They’re masters of camouflage, blending into the branches of dead trees as naturally as they can. Potoos are known to stay completely still, with their heads facing up, mimicking a dead branch when a potential predator is close by. Their eyes are larger than those of nightjar, and since they’re nocturnal birds, it can reflect light. The potoo often keeps their eyes closed during the day so as not to attract predators and blow their cover. They have unusual slits on their lids, which allows them to sense any movement, even when they have their eyes closed.
Keeping them in captivity
Potoos, because of how well they blend into their surrounding, are hardly ever seen. They're definitely mysterious and there's little known about them. Although their population in the wild is of lease concern by conservationists, damage in their environment has cause these bird's population to deplete. You don't get to see these birds often in captivity. There are a few zoos and animal centers that keep them captive to understand their behavior. As for keeping them as pets, people want to keep them as one because their large eyes make them look cute, but do you really want a screeching potoo waking you up in the middle of the night?
Even though these birds are said to bring bad luck, they're actually not that bad. Share this article to fellow animal lovers and don't forget to leave your comments and suggestion.