Four Blue-Crowned Motmot Chicks Have Hatched in the Rain Forest

Published August 13, 2013

by Ken Howell, Curator of Upland Tropical Rain Forest

Our pair of blue-crowned motmots has produced four chicks! This is the second successful brood for the pair (who produced their first set of chicks in 2011).

blue crowned motmot chick Blue-crowned motmots are neo-tropical birds known for their unusual nesting behaviors. Parent birds excavate long tunnels into the earth where they lay their eggs and raise their offspring.

Our resident pair of motmots are often seen working on a burrow within the rainforest exhibit. Earlier this summer, we were excited to learn that the pair was raising chicks in their most recent burrow! It is impossible for exhibit staff to see what is going on underground, so our team is left to interpret the behavior of both adults to infer what’s happening. When only one motmot is present during our morning bird inventory, we can assume that the adults are taking turns incubating their eggs. When we observe the adult birds carrying food into the tunnel, it’s likely that a chick has hatched! blue crowned motmot chicks

This feeding pattern continues for about four weeks, with the amount of food being brought back escalating as the chicks grow. After the four week period, the baby motmots emerge from the tunnel fully feathered, able to fly and nearly the size of an adult!

Stay tuned for more updates on our chicks!

Previous Post
comments powered by Disqus

Featured Stories

Protecting Baltimore’s Canyon

Published October 24, 2016

Living Seashore Wins Top Honors!

Published September 14, 2016

Related Stories

Meet Our Mary River Turtle Hatchlings!

Published December 01, 2016

Animal Update: Stoplight Parrotfish

Published November 25, 2016

Ken Howell

Curator of Upland Tropical Rain Forest

National Aquarium - Ken Howell

About Ken Howell

View all posts by Ken