Definition of potoo in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈto͞o/


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).
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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


Mid 19th century: from Jamaican Creole, from Twi, of imitative origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: po·too

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