Video: Potoo Bird in Full Camo

Candice Gaukel Andrews July 24, 2014 10

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,



  1. Sunita Bajpai August 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    That was an amazing clip!i was just fascinated by the bird!hope i can get close to it someday!wow!

  2. Marjorie (Margie) Campaigne August 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks – that was neat!

  3. Bill Overman August 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Very cool!

  4. Charlyne Lewis August 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    That is super awesome! I love discovering the specialty of a species.

  5. Rodolfo J. Vieto Morales August 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Good production. Thanks!

  6. Stacie Grannum July 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Very interesting birds!

  7. David Carrier July 26, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Brilliant thank you for that

  8. Brent Wickes July 26, 2014 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Wow is right! Amazing! I never heard of this bird before much less seen one – but then it would be hiding before my very eyes:)

  9. Brent July 25, 2014 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Amazing! Never knew of this bird before – probably hiding before my eyes:)

  10. Marilyn Meeks July 25, 2014 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Wow, What a bird. It took a while to see the Potoo! Some camouflage.

    I’ll have to watch this clip again.

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