Blue-crowned motmot

Blue-crowned motmot – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This magnificent bird in the jungle of Belize was so uniquely colored with blue blending into green and green into yellow, and a splash of brilliant sky blue highlighting the top of it’s head. The coloration of this bird gave it it’s name – Blue-crowned motmot. I waited for this bird to sing so that I could hear its voice, but it stayed silent and watched me with caution. Their call is said to be similar to the hoot of an owl. Perhaps it did not want to draw any extra attention to itself, which must be hard being so brightly colored. It has a few long tail feathers which it swings back and forth like a pendulum while perching on a branch. These birds nest in burrows in the ground rather than high up in the trees, making the eggs and babies easy prey for sneaky snakes.

4 thoughts on “Blue-crowned motmot

  1. Laura:
    Good photo, good colors and sharpness.
    A little Motmot lore: the name is for the call, which sounds like “mot mot…mot mot…mot mot.” Not really owl-like to my ears. I believe all the Motmot species have variations on this simple call. The bare areas on the long central tail feathers are put there intentionally by the bird, who plucks out the barbs from the central rachis. The birds sit very quietly & motionless in the under-canopy (hence the photographic clarity and sharpness which you were able to achieve), waiting for some invertebrate or lizard to move, then flies out to capture it. When doing it’s call it often (or always) moves it’s tail back and forth sideways like a pendulum, once or twice. I think it will also do that sometimes when not calling, but am not sure about that. Despite their bright colors, mostly of an iridescent nature, they can be very hard to see because they are quite motionless and blend in well to the surrounding green foliage. Of the ten motmot species, the Blue-crowned has the broadest range, from Tamaulipas Mex. in the north to N. Argentina. They are a neotropic family, not present in Africa, Asia or Australia. Their family is closely related to kingfishers.

    Liked by 1 person

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