Nothing to see here… just a tree stump (that’s is exactly what the potoo wants you to think).
With its large mouth and bulging yellow eyes (we’ll focus on those eyes in a second), it’s hard to believe the potoo could ever blend in. But in reality, it is a master of camouflage. So much so that if you travel the forests of Central and South America, you will need an extremely keen eye to find one among the trees.
These unique birds spend their day resting beneath the rainforest canopy pretending to be trees. Potoos are nocturnal, so to avoid detection during daytime, they perch motionless on dead or dying trees. What makes them nearly impossible to spot is their color pattern which helps them appear like extensions of branches.
No way you will ever spot me
Potoos are best distinguished by their haunting calls. Some liken it to the roar of a tiger, the croak of a frog or the gruff, wrenching scream of a human. Or a combination of all the above.
But they are more than just proficient tree-mimics or eerie forest-haunters. They have oversized yellow eyeballs that are perfect for spotting tasty insects, which make up the bulk of the birds’ diet.
Those big yellow eyes remain closed when they are in stealth mode, but then at night… They bulge out and give the animals a perpetually surprised look – do you recognize this little meme material?
Indeed, the potoo has been called by the online community “the most meme-able bird in existence”
Great potoo (Nyctibius grandis) vs common potoo (Nyctibius griseus). Source