I am translating a Spanish book and I have here a bird named in Spanish "pocoya", about which I know the following:

1) it flies at night

2) it makes sounds that allow to confuse it with an injured animal

3) it lives in Nicaragua or at least lived several centuries ago.

My own research brought me here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauraque and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocellated_poorwill.

I don't know which one of them it could be, nor how it could be in English (the first article doesn't have an English version) when spoken (my indigenous people can't use Latin names, for sure...)

Thank you in advance for your quick response!


1 Answer 1


I have done some reading based on your descriptors of the bird and your examples, the bird in question is a nightjar and I think they are referring to the Common Paruaque. All nightjars fit your first 2 points, the 3rd point is the only clue we can use to determine what species of nightjar you are describing. There are 11 species of nightjar is Nicaragua.

It seems the Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) is commonly known as the "Pocoyo" in spanish, but the spelling may not been certain. Here's a quote from page 9 of an article on the birds of Nicaragua from 1957:

"The species is known in Nicaragua as “Pocoyo” (exact spelling uncertain)". Reference.

The other bird you describe, the Ocellated Poorwill (Nyctiphrynus ocellatus) is referred to as the "Pocoyo ocelado".

The only other nightjar that might be called Pocoya is the Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor), but it is referred to as "Anapero".

I believe when referring to "Pocoya" it is most likely the Common Pauraque as the Ocellated Poorwill would have another descriptive word in it's name in spanish.

  • $\begingroup$ Les Beletskys' ecotravellers wildlife guide to Costa Rica says the Spanish name of the Pauraque is 'Tapacaminos Común', probably because it often rests at the road. They also say it is extremely common in Costa Rica and the most abundant caprimulgid of Central America. $\endgroup$
    – RHA
    Jan 16, 2017 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Yes, my doubt primarily raised from the fact that initially in the description of Nyctidromus albicollis I found that it barely flies. After that, when I discovered pocoya, I assumed pocoyo and pocoya should be two different, distinct names, and happily decided pocoyo will be Nyctiphrynus ocellatus while pocoya is Nyctidromus albicollis. vianica.com/sp/animales/aves/chotacabras-y-estaqueros/127 $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2017 at 9:15

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