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Blue-crowned Motmot front 2.jpg
Trinidad motmot (Momotus bahamensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Momotidae
Genus: Momotus
Brisson, 1760
Type species
Ramphastos momota
Linnaeus, 1766

see text

Momotus is a small genus of the motmots, a family of near passerine birds found in forest and woodland of the Neotropics. They have a colourful plumage, which is green on the back becoming blue on the flight feathers and the long tails. The barbs near the ends of the two longest central tail feathers fall off, leaving a length of bare shaft so that tails appear racket-shaped.

Momotus species, like other motmots, eat small prey such as insects and lizards, and will also take fruit. They nest in tunnels in banks, laying about four white eggs.

The genus Momotus was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the Amazonian motmot (Momotus momota) as the type species.[1][2]


The species complex, the blue-crowned motmot (Momotus momota), has been split into several species.[3][4] The genus now contains seven species:[3]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Russet-crowned Mot-mot - Mexico S4E8487.jpg Momotus mexicanus Russet-crowned motmot Guatemala and Mexico
Blue-crowned Motmot (24857308040) (cropped).jpg Momotus momota Amazonian motmot eastern Venezuela to north-eastern Argentina
Blue-crowned Motmot (6900676752).jpg Momotus coeruliceps Blue-capped motmot eastern Mexico
Momotus aequatorialis - on the tree.jpg Momotus aequatorialis Andean motmot northern Colombia to western Bolivia
Blue-crowned Motmot back fir0002.jpg Momotus bahamensis Trinidad motmot Trinidad and Tobago
Blue-crowned Motmot (16376009632).jpg Momotus lessonii Lesson's motmot southern Mexico to western Panama
Momotus subrufescens, Gamboa, Panama.jpg Momotus subrufescens Whooping motmot southern Panama to northwestern Peru


  1. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Vol. 1, p. 44, Vol. 4, p. 465.
  2. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1945). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 5. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 225.
  3. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Todies, motmots, bee-eaters, hoopoes, wood hoopoes, hornbills". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ Stiles, F.G. (2009). "A review of the genus Momotus (Coraciiformes: Momotidae) in northern South America and adjacent areas". Ornitología Colombiana. 8: 29–75.

Further reading[edit]