Wildlife Guatemala – 10 Things You Should Know About Turquoise-Browed Motmot


The turquoise-browed Motmot is a beautifully colored medium sized bird that lives from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico down to Costa Rica. It is quite common in Central America. In fact El Salvador and Nicaragua made it their national bird. In Guatemala it can be seen in the departments of Alta Verapaz and Izabal.


1. It has some other names, in El Salvador it is called Torogoz and in Nicaragua it is called Guardabarranco.

2. It has a mostly green body. There is a bright blue stripe above the eye and a blue-bordered black patch on the throat. The flight feathers and upper side of the tail are blue.

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3. Motmots are omnivorous. They eat small insects and reptiles but they might also eat fruits. They have even been seen eating poisonous frogs.

4. The bird is approximately 34 cm long and weighs about 65 grams.

5. It has been known that motmots live somewhere between 12 to 14 years.


6. Studies have shown that motmots move their tail back and forth in a wag-display when they detect predators and that the display is likely to communicate that the motmot is aware of the predator and is prepared to escape.

7. These birds lay 3 – 6 white eggs in a long tunnel nest in an earth bank or sometimes in a quarry or fresh-water well.

8. Males apparently use their tail as a sexual signal, males with longer tails have the best pairing and reproductive success.

9. The population appears to be stable, hence the species does is not on the Vulnerable lists. But numbers are declining fast.

10. It lives in fairly open habitats such as forest edge, gallery forest and scrub land.

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About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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