Wild Facts About The Potoo That Prove They’re One Of The Strangest Creatures On The Planet

By Maggie Watson

There are an estimated 8.7 million species on the planet: that's a lot of very different animals. From chipmunks to elephants, most species don't have a ton of similarities, but, when it comes to being unique, there is one animal that takes the cake.

Ladies and gents, please meet the potoo! It's a bird that doesn't look like any you've ever seen in your backyard — and it doesn't act like one either. Once you read these facts about the potoo, you'll be combing the skies hoping to catch a glimpse of this peculiar bird!

1. Potoos are most often found in Central and South America along the Amazon Basin. But these birds have been around the world, too. Potoo fossils were found in France and Germany, and date back some 40 million years.
Wikimedia Commons
2. There are seven different known species of Potoo, and some of them look quite different. The two most common being the great potoo (left) and the common potoo (right). As you can see, they're unique looking creatures.
3. Potoos are nocturnal creatures. That means they are the most active during the nighttime and are usually asleep during the day. All of their hunting is done under the cover of the night.
Tim Ellis / Flickr
4. They have two distinguishing features that are hard to miss: The first? They have eyes that are very large and bulge out of their heads like something from a cartoon.
The other trait they share is even more out of this world. During the day, the common potoo's eyes are yellow, but at night, they turn orange. It's like a mood ring in their faces!
5. This common potoo is about to close its eyes, but even with them closed, they can still detect your presence. That's because they have these narrow slits at the base of their eyelids...