Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Motmots are stunning birds of tropical and subtropical forest. There are ten species currently recognised worldwide, six of which are found in Costa Rica. We managed to see four species in our two weeks. Considering that all extant Motmots are in Central and South America, it is interesting that a Motmot-like fossil was found in Switzerland and suggests that they probably arose in the Old World.

A Rufous Motmot at La Selva. Nearly all Motmots have serrated bills, the depth of the serrations relating to the size of insect prey taken. This, the largest Motmot, has very deep teeth on both mandibles. The black spot on the chest is formed by a cluster of elongated black feathers, another feature of a typical Motmot (c) Richard Brown

A Turquoise-browed Motmot showing off another feature of the majority of Motmots, an area of featherless shaft along elongated central tail feathers (c) Richard Brown

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