One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A nocturnal, insectivorous bird resembling a large nightjar. Found in tropical America, it mimics a dead branch when alarmed.
Genus Nyctibius and family Nyctibiidae: five species, in particular the common potoo (N. griseus)
- ‘A distant relative of the whippoorwill, the potoo feeds mainly at night, opening its short, curved bill very wide to sweep up flying insects.’
- ‘White-winged potoo, a large, very rare nocturnal bird; Iwokrama is one of the best places for spotting this species’
- ‘That night trip also yielded a highland tinamou, two Virginia opossums and - after half an hour spent staring at a yellow eye in a distant tree - what turned out to be a potoo.’
Mid 19th century: from Jamaican creole, from Akan, of imitative origin.
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