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Common Potoo with Nancy Rumbel

An uncommonly fine duet!

The Common Potoo is a nocturnal bird of Central and South America, known for its camouflage plumage and upright perching. Nancy Rumbel, who composed the theme music for BirdNote, improvises here with the call of the Common Potoo. Using the pentatonic scale of the potoo, Nancy responds with her ocarina. Be sure to listen to the longer version. And you can also catch a video of a potoo. Did you enjoy this show? Please leave a comment below! Thanks.

Full Transcript

Common Potoo, with Nancy Rumbel
Featuring Nancy Rumbel

This is BirdNote!

[call of the Common Potoo]

….the Common Potoo, a nocturnal bird of tropical Central and South America…

[call of the Common Potoo]

What does musician Nancy Rumbel, who composed the theme music for BirdNote, hear in the call of the Common Potoo?  [call of the Common Potoo]  Using the same pentatonic scale, she responds with her ocarina.

[Potoo and Ocarina]

FC Version 1. Here she adds piano.  [piano, Potoo and Ocarina]  
FC Version 2.   Here she adds piano and strings [add cello]

Nancy: Often, I will make sketches before I will create a longer composition, so perhaps the Common Potoo song might someday develop itself into a longer piece of music.

[Full mix]

To hear more, come to

Call of the Common Potoo  provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Recorded by P.P. Kellogg.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to     July 2014     Narrator: Frank Corrado

ID# potoowithnrumbel-01-2008-06-06-         potoowithnrumbel-01

Nancy Rumbel is part of the Grammy-award-winning duo Tingstad and Rumbel.

comments 8Show

An exquisite example of the creative source in nature.

This is a lovely duet, and the bird and composer sound wonderful!

Deeply exquisite-a gift to all. Multo gratzie.

Love this show. After all the mention of struggle and violence in the morning edition news, Birdnote allows me to pause, breath deeply, and begin my day with a smile. Thank you!

Lovely song and beatifully translated into instruments...nature at its best!

The whole world needs to hear bird note every day....there should be a Bird note "time out"......

I hope she does develop this into a complete piece. What she had and the bird's voice itself were so evocative that I cried. Silly though it seems, I had never actually listened to the voice of the Common Potoo. Now I'm sorry the bird trip I did to Mexico didn't include an evening boat trip in San Blas where I might have at least heard the bird even if not sighting it. Thanks, that was wonderful.

We have one near our beach house, so this has helped me listen to its call as music. Maybe I'll go out there with my ocarina.


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