Not threatened globally, considered a species of Least Concern (Birdlife International 2011). Reasonably common in portions of its range (Snow 2001), especially on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica (Skutch 1971) and the Caribbean and southern Pacific slopes of Panama (Wetmore 1968, Ridgely 1976). Abundance declines with elevation in Costa Rica (Slud 1964) and may in part be influenced by the presence of other motmot species (Forshaw and Cooper 1987). Distribution is reported as "uneven" in northwestern Brazil south of the Amazon River (Gyldenstolpe 1951). Wetmore (1968) reported that forest clearing seriously "affected" the Rufous Motmot in Veraguas, western Panama. The species' tolerance of secondary forest and open forest with tall trees should buffer at least some of the detrimental effects that primary forest clearance may have on abundance.