Potoo (the Mother of the Moon)

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The Potoo is night active. Various indigenous tribes from South America pass on mysterious legends about these birds. Their tail feathers are said to protect a girl’s chastity. Some legends say that the bird is a baby abandoned in the forest by its mother. Other stories tell the fate of a young girl who was transformed into a potoo by witchcraft after she discovered that her jealous father had killed her lover. The sad and melancholy cries of the bird eco through the forest at night. Maybe that is the reason why these birds are also known as Mãe-da-lua (mother of the moon) or Urutau (ghost bird).

Potoos spend the day perched on branches. They resemble stumps or broken branches, and adopt a “freeze” position when in danger. They do not construct a nest but lay a single egg on a depression in a branch or at the top of a rotten stump. One parent, often the male, incubates the egg during the day, then the feeding duties are shared during the night. In the video you see a potoo feeding its chick. An event not easily witnessed as parents feed their chicks infrequently to minimise attention to the nest.

With the video the Instituto Últimos Refúgios recently won Best Video Clip in the HBW World Bird Photo Contest.

Leonardo Merçon

Leonardo Merçon

My name is Leonardo Merçon. I am a nature photographer from Brazil implementing projects in several areas related to environmental awareness and the documentary recording of Brazil's natural resources. Ever since I can imagine I wanted to be a nature photographer supporting environmental awareness.In 2011 I officially found the Últimos Refúgios Institute, a non-profit organization that aims to sensitize society about the existence and the urgent need for preservation of preservation units in Brazil. The Institute provides records of the Atlantic Forest preservation units and promotes environmental awareness. The results of my work are published in photographic books and documentaries, which are distributed free at schools and libraries, as well as through activities of environmental awareness rising at local pre-schools. I am constantly developing new techniques in order to photograph wild animals in their natural habitat.

Leonardo Merçon

Leonardo Merçon

My name is Leonardo Merçon. I am a nature photographer from Brazil implementing projects in several areas related to environmental awareness and the documentary recording of Brazil's natural resources. Ever since I can imagine I wanted to be a nature photographer supporting environmental awareness.In 2011 I officially found the Últimos Refúgios Institute, a non-profit organization that aims to sensitize society about the existence and the urgent need for preservation of preservation units in Brazil. The Institute provides records of the Atlantic Forest preservation units and promotes environmental awareness. The results of my work are published in photographic books and documentaries, which are distributed free at schools and libraries, as well as through activities of environmental awareness rising at local pre-schools. I am constantly developing new techniques in order to photograph wild animals in their natural habitat.

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