Rufous motmot

Second-largest and the most spectacular bird of the family

Dominic Sherony

A captivating bird species that inhabits a wide range of habitats across Central and South America, from Honduras south to Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. It is commonly found in humid lowland primary and secondary forests near water sources such as rivers and streams.

Measuring nearly half a meter in size, the Rufous motmot boasts a striking appearance characterized by its prominent bluish-green lower belly and a long dark blue tail adorned with unique markings. This distinctive coloration makes it a standout resident of the dense forest understory, where it can be observed perched quietly among the foliage.

While the Rufous motmot typically remains solitary, it may form pairs during the breeding season, engaging in courtship rituals and nesting activities. These birds are known for their omnivorous diet, which includes a wide variety of food items such as fruits, insects, small fish, lizards, and frogs. They are skilled hunters, often observing their prey motionlessly before launching a swift and precise attack.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Rufous motmot behavior is their nesting habits. Like other members of the motmot family, they construct deep burrows in earthen banks to serve as their nesting sites. These burrows provide protection for their eggs and chicks from potential predators and harsh environmental conditions, ensuring the survival of their offspring.

Despite being relatively stable in population size, Rufous motmots face threats from habitat loss and uncontrolled urbanization. As human activities continue to encroach upon their natural habitats, these birds may experience declines in their populations if conservation efforts are not implemented.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Bolivia
2019
Brazil
2019
Colombia
2019
Costa Rica
2019
Ecuador
2019
Honduras
2019
Nicaragua
2019
Panama
2019
Peru
2019

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No