Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii

  • Order: Coraciiformes
  • Family: Momotidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Terry L. Master

Priorities for Future Research

Relatively little is known about many aspects of the natural history of the Rufous Motmot, especially breeding biology and productivity. Detailed observations of courtship behavior, nest building, eggs and nesting success are needed across the range of the species. Difficulties in viewing the nest chamber and keeping track of incubation activities, hatching success, nestling food provisioning and fledging periods could be solved using fiber optics, embedded predator cameras and other technologies. The competitive relationship between Rufous Motmots and Broad-billed Motmots (Electron platyrhynchum), with whom they share a nearly identical range, needs investigation. The relationship between habitat use and degree of habitat alteration also needs to be determined to refine current conservation status, especially in specific portions of their range, and for future population monitoring.  Finally, determining the function of the tail racquets, if indeed there is one, has always been an intriguing question. It is interesting that the subspecies of both the Rufous Motmot and Broad-billed Motmot found east of the Andes lack racquets while those west of the Andes and in Central America retain them. This pattern, along with the close similarity in plumage characters may suggest that the smaller Broad-billed Motmot is a mimic of the larger Rufous Motmot (Snow 2001).

Recommended Citation

Master, T. L. (2011). Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.