Tell me the legend of the singing bird “Potoo”!

3 June, 2016

First some facts about the bird:

Its name is Urutaú o also known as Potoo because of its wailing cry at the night.
It is a nocturnal bird and its grey, black and brown plumage is a perfect camouflage.
The bird sleeps during the day. Watch closely, it can hide very well!

Sleeping Potoo

Sleeping Potoo.


Mostly you can find them vertically perched but sleeping on dead branches. Actually the bird is that good adapted to the tree that it looks like a part of it.

When you come closer you can see the difference - bird and branch

When you come closer you can see the difference

Awake Potoo with its big, yellow eyes.

Awake Potoo with its big, yellow eyes.











They awaken at dusk, revealing huge eyes capable of spotting moths and other flying insects in the dark. Potoos also have wide and gaping mouths for catching prey during their quick, short, and silent flights.

Anyway, to tell you the legend:

The Shuar people at the Ecuadorian Amazon tell each other a history about the singing bird. They say when the moon comes out it begins its wailing cry.

“It was once a couple which had a fight. The man was angry with his wife Aóho, because she prepared insufficient pumpkin for the dinner. He climbed up a liane and wanted to escape from her. As Aóho followed him to apologize with a basket full of pumpkins, he cut the liane, because of his anger at her. The wife felled down to earth and with here all the pumpkins. On this day the Shuar got to know the pumpkin.

Aóho turned into a bird and her husband into the moon.

Every day when the moon comes out the women is calling her husband with a sad cry. The indigenous people said she calls “aishirú, aishirú”, which means “my husband, my husband””

The Urutaú o Potoo

The Urutaú o Potoo.