The Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit is temporarily closed through Fall 2022.

Blue-Crowned Motmot

(Momotus momota)

Overview

This bird has green, olive and blue feathers on its back and tail. It has a wide black band through the eye, accented by the metallic blue feathers that give the blue-crowned motmot its name.

Its beak is short, slightly down-curved and serrated along the edges of the upper mandible. The bird is easily recognized by its long, racquet-shaped central tail feathers. Sometimes the blue-crowned motmot can be seen perched on a branch, swinging these tail feathers back and forth like a pendulum. Motmots are most vocal at dawn, calling with a soft and monotonous “whoot whoot, whoot whoot.”

Quick Facts

Learn more about the blue-crowned motmot! Did you know that these birds nest in burrows that they excavate in the ground?

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

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.

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

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.

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