The long-tailed potoo, a captivating nocturnal bird, is native to mainland South America, gracing nearly every country on the continent except Chile and Uruguay. This enigmatic species showcases remarkable diversity with its three subspecies, each possessing unique characteristics. Measuring between 42 to 58 cm in length, the long-tailed potoo flaunts a splendid coat. The nominate subspecies features tawny brown upperparts adorned with buff spots and speckles, while the mantle, back, and rump sport mottled brown and buff patterns. However, what truly sets this bird apart is its ingenious use of camouflage, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its surroundings, whether it be the lush forests of Amazonia or the dry woodlands of Argentina.
A true night owl, the long-tailed potoo feeds on flying insects with grace and agility. During the day, it seeks refuge on dead branches or stubs, perched up to 20 meters above the ground. Nesting is a unique affair, with the species laying a single egg on a stump or branch. The long-tailed potoo serenades the night with soft, undulating calls, often accompanied by owl-like hoots or woof notes. While it may face challenges due to habitat loss in regions like Amazonia, it currently holds the status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN’s list.