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Rufous Motmot - BirdForum Opus

Baryphthengus martii
Photo by Reini
Photographed in Costa Rica.


46cm. Cinnamon-rufous, black face mask and central breast spot, green wings and sides, a greenish-blue lower belly, dark blue tail and flight feathers. The tail is very long with a bare-shafted racket tip, black bill and legs. Young birds are paler and duller than adults, and lack the tail rackets and black breast spot.

Similar Species

The Broad-billed Motmot has very similar plumage, but is considerably smaller (which doesn't always help in field identification). Most diagnostic is the full rufous breast and belly of the Rufous motmot, compared to just the breast in the Broad-billed.


Northeastern Honduras south to western Ecuador, northeastern Bolivia, and southwestern Brazil.


This is a monotypic species[1], but some authorities recognize two subspecies: martii and semirufus. Until recently, Rufous-capped Motmot was included in Rufous Motmot.


Tall wet forest and second growth.


It nests in a 4-5 m long tunnel in a bank or the side of a mammal burrow.

The diet includes insects, lizards, fish and crabs, and it will also take many fruits, especially those of palms.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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