Spot the Chick?

The nocturnal Common Potoo spends its days perched motionless, pretending to be a dead tree branch.  Sounds like a lonely existence – but on second glance the Potoo we spotted this week on Pipeline Road was actually brooding a chick – Can you spot it?

It’s not just the adults that blend in – until it opened its eyes, we had no idea that there was a chick stashed amongst the adults breast feathers.  Both parents protect the chick in this way 24 hours a day for the first two weeks of its life, and during daytime for a further fortnight.  Without a nest, a single egg is laid directly onto a tree stump and incubated.  Brooding the chick protects against the elements and in particular the heavy rains we experience at this time of year.  As you’ll see the adults huge insect catching beak forms an effective umbrella for the nestling.

A photo of a Common Potoo brooding a chick taken whilst birdwatching on Pipeline Road Panama
A Common Potoo protecting its lone chick on Pipeline Road

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