Certainly one of the oddest birds you’re ever going to come across, which is a big part of why it’s become one of the real favorite birds to own as a pet, the great potoo bird has a distinct appearance that you’re going to find impossible not to notice!
Do you really think that Sugar glider is bizarre enough, then wait until you know more about the great potoo bird. With two very large and very black eyes set on the side of its head and feathers that look more like fur in a camouflage pattern, a lot of people find the potoo bird to be a little bit unsettling at first appearance – at least until they get to know just how friendly, carefree, and quirky their personalities can be.
A predominantly nocturnal bird, the potoo birds that are available to purchase at pet stores – usually exotic pet stores – and from breeders all over the world have personalities that have adjusted to a day time clock, making them interesting pets to keep around the home for sure. Smart, agile, and offering plenty of unique companionship, this South American and Central American bird will definitely make you the talk of the town if you decide to bring it home with you!
A little background on the potoo bird
While the potoo bird is considered to be a relatively common bird in Central and South America, the truth of the matter is it is currently experiencing a rapid decline in population due to habitat loss which is exactly why so many are encouraging exotic pet owners and bird lovers in particular to begin raising these birds in other locales, if only in an effort to keep them from being threatened by extinction.
Growing to up to 24 inches in length, as we mentioned above this bird looks as though it isn’t covered in feathers but instead covered in for and has an oversized beak, and oversized mouth, and very large and sometimes unsettling eyeballs that are stuck almost directly on the side of its head.
Combine that with its low and drawn out rasping chirp which sounds a lot more like a growl or a bark and you’re talking about a real oddball bird here, but one that can still be so much to own!
Personality traits (the great potoo)
While this nocturnal bird really prefers to keep itself hidden throughout the day, when they have been raised in captivity and trained to be pets they have a much more mischievous, playful, and agreeable personality – daytime or not.
These birds are usually pretty friendly, especially with those that may have been able to build a relationship with, though they will spend plenty of time perched atop branches or inside of their cage completely motionless with their beak pointed towards the sky. This allows them to use their unique camouflage pattern to be, almost completely invisible – perfect for capturing prey when night comes!
Primarily feeding on bugs (especially large bugs) and occasionally mice or bats if they can get their beak on them, for the most part these birds make wonderful pets – especially after they have created a connection with you. And while they aren’t ever going to be the “life of the party” the way that a parrot may be, but because of their unique appearance and personality and they are definitely going to capture more attention than even the chattiest parrot ever could.
Overall health and wellbeing
Potoo birds definitely aren’t as weak or as fragile as some of the other kinds of birds that are popular as pets, though they aren’t the heartiest of the avian family, either. These birds will do everything they can to protect themselves and any other birds in their flock, typically using mob style behavior to gang up on anything that they determined to be a predator in an effort to use their numbers against that predator, but they rely so much more on their camouflage and surprise that they don’t often find themselves in situations where they can be injured or hurt.
Relatively simple and straightforward to take care of, at least as far as bird pets are concerned, potoo birds will have to be fed a pretty steady diet that can get a little bit on the expensive side – some in the avian world have called these birds little more than flying mouths with eyeballs – but other than that things really shouldn’t be all that challenging with potoo birds.
Care and Feeding of the great potoo bird
As we highlighted above, these birds are predominantly a nocturnal three though they can open up their personalities a little bit in captivity during the daytime. They also have unique slits in their eyelids that allow them to detect motion even when they appear to be completely asleep, which will make them always on alert and something that you want to be aware of.
For the most part, these birds will “play nice” with other species of bird as long as they do not detect them to be predators. If they do classify some of the other pet birds in your home as predators they are going to screech, they are going to “bark”, and they are going to try and rally the troops to attack those birds the first chance that they get.
You’ll want to keep an eye on this kind of behavior, for obvious reasons.
Life food will need to be provided to the potoo birds that you are taking care of in the form of large insects and possibly even mice if your budget can stand it. Predominantly, however, the potoo birds are going to eat insects which are relatively inexpensive and easy enough to feed your birds, so you shouldn’t really have any trouble there, either.
How trainable are Potoo birds?
At the end of the day, these birds definitely have distinct personalities, a streak of independence, and a resistance to acting the way that other popular pet birds are going to act. All the same, they are very trainable if you’re willing to put in the time and if you raise potoo birds that have come from breeders that have spent time training these kinds of birds you’ll find the entire process to be easy (though not effortless).