This handsome bird is a motmot, who may be seen in thickets and forrests throughout Mesoamerica. His name comes from the sound he makes (often heard in early morning).


motmot birdI had always heard that the bird modifies his tail himself, plucking away at the midfeather to leave the barbs at the end. But now I read that the middle feathers are weak and fall off naturally.

The Mayan word for motmot is xukpi.

The sound is from Dan Merrill’s excellent Bird Songs of Santa Rosa. The image, blue-crowned motmot (Momotus momota) is from Wikipedia.