Amazonian Motmot

ANIMAL:
Amazonian Motmot Momotus momota

Type of Animal:
Motmot

Habitat:
Forests, forest edge, light secondary woodland patches, wooded ravines, thickets, hedgerows, shady gardens, shaded coffee farms, plantations, pastureland, rural gardens

Location(s):
E Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana Shield, Brazil, Bolivia, N Paraguay, E Ecuador, E Peru, N Argentina

Appearance:
Blue/turquoise crown w/ central black crown, black eyemask, chestnut nape, long racket-like blue-green tail (bluer at tip), curved short beak serrated along upper edge, green back, red eye, black around eyes, orangish belly

Food/Diet:
Insects, insect larvae, spiders, gastropods, worms, millipedes, woodlice, small reptiles, fruit, frogs, small rodents, birds, centipedes, berries, plant reproductive parts

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & aviculture

Lifestyle:
Monogamous pairs or solitary

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Pair
 
Weight:
6 oz

Gestation:
3 weeks

Life Span:
20 years

Height:
1.3 ft

Body Length:
1.3 ft

Tail Length:
4 in

Main predators of adults are felids, raptors, snakes, & crocodilians. Small mammals & jays eat chicks.
 
Most active at twilight.
 
Often heard at dawn emitting low owl-like ‘ooo-doot’ call.
 
During breeding season, male performs courtship dance to attract female.
 
Nest in tunnels in banks & other difficult to discover places. Usually excavated when soil is soft. Nesting tunnel excavation can take as long as 2.5 months to complete, w/ most digging/nest work being done from late morning to late afternoon. Excavation results in 5-14 ft long winding burrow 3-4 in in diameter & 10 in high, 10 in wide, 14 in long terminal nesting chamber. Birds use same nest sites year after year & often only during breeding/nesting.
 
Heavy set, serrated bill used to brush away leaf litter & probe into earth.
 
Larger prey often bashed against tree branch/rock to tenderize it. After pulverizing, food swallowed whole.
 
Chicks leave parents at 2-4 months old but become sexually mature at 10 months.
 
Pairs typically rear 2-4 chicks per clutch, 1-3 clutches a year.
 
Both parents incubate eggs.
 
Fast fliers, flying for short distances, darting from tree to tree.

Fun Fact(s):
Sometimes hop in pursuit of prey.
 
Males have been seen carrying inedible objects to court females.
 
Birds actually prune down racket-like feathers to make tail that shape.
 
“Motmot” is American-Spanish word imitating calls made by these birds.
 
Very short feet w/ 1 rear toe & middle toe almost fused to inner one.
 
Often called “clock birds” due to habit of swinging tail side to side.
Amazonian Motmot, stock photo

2 thoughts on “Amazonian Motmot

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