The Whooping Motmot is the most widespread, familiar motmot of the lowlands of eastern Panama and northwestern South America, where its hooting call is a familiar sound in lowlands forests. 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. Like many motmots, the Whooping Motmot has weak subterminal barbs on the central two rectrices. These barbs fall off shortly after the rectrices grow in to leave a distinctive racquet shape to the tail. The Whooping 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.