skip to content

Momotus coeruliceps

Blue-crowned Motmot

  • Order: Coraciiformes
  • Family: Momotidae
  • Polytypic 4 Subspecies

Authors: Orzechowski, Sophia Catherine, and Thomas S. Schulenberg

Momotus coeruliceps

Puntarenas, Costa Rica; 4 March 2010 © Andy Jones

The Blue-crowned Motmot is the most northern member of the "Blue-crowned Motmot" complex; indeed, its distribution is one the most northern of all the motmots, rivaled only by the Russet-crowned Motmot (Momotus mexicanus) of western Mexico. The Blue-crowned Motmot takes its name from one of the four subspecies, coeruleiceps of northeastern Mexico, in which the center of the crown is blue; in the three other subspecies, the center of the crown is black, circled by a ring of bright blue along the sides of the crown. The Blue-crowned Motmot is a widespread, fairly common that occurs from northeastern Mexico south to western Panama. Like other species of motmots, birds often perch on a favored branch, where they cock their long tail back and forth like a clock pendulum and occasionally sally after a flying insect. The Blue-crowned Motmot is similar in many respects to several other allopatric species of motmots in the "Blue-crowned Motmot" complex, all of which formerly were classified as a single, highly variable species.

Recommended Citation

Orzechowski, Sophia Catherine, and Thomas S. Schulenberg. 2011. Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus coeruliceps), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website, but has been revised by Neotropical Birds Online.

The data for the Infonatura maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Tropical lowland evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Understory/Midstory
  • Foraging Behavior:Sally
  • Diet:Omnivorous
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:Burrow
  • Clutch: 3 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Unknown