Family Potoos (Nyctibiidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Potoo (Nyctibius leucopterus)


French: Ibijau à ailes blanches German: Weißflügel-Tagschläfer Spanish: Nictibio aliblanco

Caprimulgus leucopterus


, 1821,

near Conquista, Bahia, Brazil


Two recent studies#R#R found that this species, N. griseus and N. maculosus were closely related. Present species was for some time considered to include N. maculosus as a race, but the two differ in size, plumage, voice, and elevational distribution. Includes two populations: Amazonian form appears to be a new taxon, as yet undescribed; degree of vocal differences in urgent need of clarification, as E Brazilian population evidently small and at risk. Currently treated as monotypic.


Lowlands of Amazonia in E Venezuela#R, N Brazil, the Guianas#R#R and E Peru#R, in distantly scattered localities, probably occurring throughout; also Bahia#R and Espírito Santo#R, in E Brazil.

Descriptive notes

24–29 cm; 77–85 g in Amazonia, weight of eastern form unknown. Relatively short-tailed; dark brown, paler below; conspicuous, large white patch across secondary... read more


Haunting, melancholy, whistled song in Amazonia, given mostly on moonlit nights: a gradually... read more


In Amazonia, canopy of primary lowland terra firme rainforest, including lighter forest on... read more

Food and feeding

Small to medium-sized flying insects, including beetles, moths, cicadas, mantids, orthopterans, winged termites, and true bugs. Forages by... read more


Unknown. Habits presumed to be similar to those of congeners; nest probably situated in canopy.


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. E Brazilian form is unknown in life, and probably limited to remnant patches of Atlantic rainforest, where it is highly threatened or possibly even... read more

Recommended citation

Cohn-Haft, M. (2018). White-winged Potoo (Nyctibius leucopterus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 March 2018).