• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Amazonian Motmot - BirdForum Opus

Amazonian Motmot
Photo by Marcelo Padua
Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil
Momotus momota


38-48 cm
Green upperparts, green or rufous underparts depending on subspecies (very variable how dark), black central spot on upper breast, black central crown surrounded by blue band, black eyemask sometimes edged pale at the back.

Tail is green with blue lower tail with two longest feathers showing an area missing barbs followed by an area with barbs (rackets); the tip of these feathers is black in some subspecies.

Notice that the tail feathers are normal when growing, the barbs fall off shortly after, and it is therefore possible to see a bird of this species that is missing rackets (feathers may also break below the rackets).

Photo by Lcverissimo
Teodoro Sampaio, São Paulo State, Brazil, November 2012

The female is smaller and duller.

Juvenile has reduced black on upper breast.


Northern half of South America.


There has been a recent split of a species known as Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) into six species:


Clements recognizes 9 subspecies[1]:

  • M. m. momota in tropical eastern Venezuela to the Guianas and northern Brazil
  • M. m. microstephanus in Colombia and Ecuador (east of Andes) and adjacent northwest Brazil
  • M. m. ignobilis in eastern Amazonian Peru and western Brazil
  • M. m. nattereri at the tropical base of Andes of northeast Bolivia
  • M. m. simplex from the Brazil/Peru border east to Rio Tapajós and south to northern Mato Grosso
  • M. m. pilcomajensis from southern Bolivia to southern Brazil and northwest Argentina
  • M. m. cametensis in north-central Brazil between Rio Tapajós and Rio Tocantins
  • M. m. parensis in eastern Brazil (Rio Tocantins to Maranhão and Piauí)
  • M. m. marcgravianus in northeastern Brazil (Paraíba to Alagoas)


Habitats near water, rivers, streams, and builds its nest in hollows excavated on banks. Likes to perch on branches in the shadow, inside forest, in hedgerows, or in scrub.



It nests in tunnels in a bank, 3-4 white eggs are laid.


The diet includes insects, lizards and fruit.


A song consisting of two hoots.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. F. Gary Stiles 2009. A REVIEW OF THE GENUS MOMOTUS (CORACIIFORMES: MOMOTIDAE) IN NORTHERN SOUTH AMERICA AND ADJACENT AREAS. Ornitología Colombiana No.8 (2009): 29-75. Subject of Birdforum discussion here
  3. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2021. IOC World Bird List (v 11.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.11.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  4. Birdforum member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1