Day-to-day survival is a challenge in the wild, especially if those looking to eat you are bigger or faster than you are. That’s the reason why many species have developed methods of camouflage. Some, such as chameleons, adjust their coloration to imitate their habitats; others, including zebras, find strength in numbers and stick with their herds so that when a lion walks by, all the predator sees is a big, striped mass.
The common potoo, found from Nicaragua in Central America south to Argentina, however, takes camouflage to new heights. Not only does this bird’s complex pattern of black, brown and gray plumage resemble tree bark, it adopts a posture that looks like a dead limb. Pretending to be a broken tree branch, a potoo will hold absolutely still—and successfully hide in plain sight.
Watch the video below. In it, exotic jungle biologist Dr. Jonny Miller visits a potoo bird in the wild to show off how skilled it is at concealment and mimicry.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,