Blue-Crowned MotMot

Blue-Crowned Motmot

Momotus momota


These birds nest in burrows they excavate in the ground.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Upland Tropical Rain Forest

Add to Trip Planner

Blue-Crowned MotMot Blue-Crowned MotMot Blue-Crowned MotMot Blue-Crowned MotMot

Blue-Crowned Motmot

This bird has back and tail colors of green, olive, and blue. It has a wide black band through the eye.

Metallic blue feathers at the top of its head give the blue-crowned motmot its name. Its beak is short, slightly downcurved, and serrated along the edges of the upper mandible. The long racquet-shaped central tail feathers make motmots easily recognizable. 

Sometimes the birds sit on a branch, methodically swinging their tail back and forth, like a feathered pendulum. They are most vocal at dawn, calling with a soft and monotonous “whoot whoot, whoot whoot.”


Prey includes small lizards and rodents, frogs, birds, arthropods, centipedes, spiders, butterflies, cicadas, beetles, mantises, and small pieces of fruit. Motmots sit quietly in trees, waiting for prey. They often whack their prey against a branch before eating it. 


Blue-crowned motmots have a body length ranging from 17–20 inches, including tail.


They inhabit a wide geographic range including Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Trinidad, and Tobago.

Population Status

Blue-crowned motmots are common throughout their range. They are not listed as threatened or endangered. 


Ocelots, margays, birds of prey, and snakes are known to eat motmots. Eggs and chicks may be eaten by small mammals and snakes.

Back to the Top

A Note From the Caretaker

Motmots burrow far into the ground to nest. Motmot burrow entrances can often be spotted from the Upland Tropical Rain Forest deck. An interesting behavior to look for is the male feeding the female. This is an indication that the pair has bonded.