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Long-tailed Potoo

Long-tailed Potoo (Nyctibius aethereus)

It measures between 46 and 58 centimeters in length, and weighs between 280 and 447 grams (Cohn-Haft, 1999). According to Cleere (1998), the sexes are similar, with no apparent sexual dimorphism.
According to (Dingain, 2010), the Nyctibius aethereus is smaller than the Great Urutau (Nyctibius grandis) and is larger than the Urutau (Nyctibius griseus). It differs from these two species by having a proportionally longer tail and by being darker in general color. Nyctibius aethereus often has a conspicuous pale patch on the shoulder and a prominent beige or whitish stripe on the side of the throat. Another distinct characteristic to identify them is the presence of upward-facing tips of the shoulder and wing covert feathers. This characteristic is caused by the rachis of the feather that bends outward and the barbs that curve inward when close to the tip of the feather.
The forehead, crown and nape are dark brownish-brown in color, speckled and spotted with beige, with wide dark brown or black streaks. Over the eyes there is a region with small feathers in a different shape, similar in appearance to eyelashes. Does not have a collar around the neck. The mantle, back and rump are brown, speckled with brown and light beige. Its covering feathers are brown and streaked with dark brown with the tips facing upwards. The supracaudal feathers are brown, with large brown spots. The strongly graduated tail is grayish brown, the straight feathers have broad dark brown bars; the central pair of rectrices is pointed. The primary coverts are brown or have a light brown streak. The smaller outer covert feathers are dark brown, beige, pale beige, or even off-white, forming a distinct pale panel over the shoulders. The remainder of the wing coverts are brown, densely mottled with pale beige and dun brown. The shoulders are brownish brown, speckled with brown spots of different shades and have dark brown stripes. The primary and secondary remiges are brown and have broad dark brown bars. The flowers and ear region are brown and speckled with brown. The throat region, close to the beak, has a black maxillary streak that starts narrower and becomes wider along the sides of the throat. The chin is pale gray flecked with brown. The breast, upper belly, and sides are brown or grayish brown speckled with beige and have dark brown stripes or spots. the lower belly and crissus are pale and vermiculated brown.
The iris is greenish or bluish gray. The beak is dark and the tarsi and feet are brownish.
The immature young of the species are similar to the adult, but their plumage is paler and often tinged with brown instead of grayish-brown.
Predominant Biome: Atlantic Forest - Geographic distribution Occurs in the Amazon and eastern Brazil.
Itatiaia/RJ - Brazil
Date taken
Scientific name
Nyctibius aethereus
Equipment used

Media information

Central & South America & Mexico
Added by
Luciano Bernardes
Date added
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Image metadata

Focal length
600.0 mm
Exposure time
1/500 second(s)
Off, did not fire
File size
4.4 MB
Date taken
Sun, 17 March 2024 6:26 PM
3975px x 2650px

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