Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blue-crowned Motmot / momotus momota

The Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, is a near-passerine bird which is a resident breeder in the rain forests of Mexico, Central and South America, and Trinidad and Tobago.
This motmot is a large tropical bird related to other colourful families such as the kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. Like most of the Coraciiformes, motmots nest in tunnels in banks, laying about three or four white eggs.
The Blue-crowned Motmot is 41-46cm long, depending on race. Nominate M. m. momota weighs 145g. The tail is very long with a bare-shafted racket tip. The upperparts are green, shading to blue on the lower tail, and the underparts are green or rufous depending on subspecies.
The head has a black crown, which is surrounded by a blue and purple band. There is a black eyemask, and the nape of momota is chestnut. The call is a low owl-like ooo-doot.
These birds often sit still, and in their dense forest habitat can be difficult to see, despite their size. They eat small prey such as insects and lizards, and will also regularly take fruit.
The upland subspecies was formerly split as the Highland Motmot, Momotus aequatorialis (Gould, 1858) a species recognised, for example, by Sibley and Monroe, but this treatment is no longer adopted, following SACC (2005).

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