Family Motmots (Momotidae)

Least Concern

Amazonian Motmot (Momotus momota)


French: Motmot houtouc German: Amazonasmotmot Spanish: Momoto amazónico
Other common names: Blue-crowned Motmot (when lumped with preceding four species)

Ramphastos momota


, 1766,



Until recently considered conspecific with M. coeruliceps, M. lessonii, M. subrufescens and M. bahamensis (and sometimes also M. aequatorialis), but differs from all in characters given under those species. Nine subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. microstephanus P. L. Sclater, 1858 – lowlands E of Andes in E Colombia, W Venezuela, E Ecuador, NE Peru and NW Brazil (E to upper R Negro).
  • M. m. momota (Linnaeus, 1766) – from R Orinoco E to N Brazil (Amapá), S to N bank of lower Amazon.
  • M. m. ignobilis Berlepsch, 1889 – E Peru, N Bolivia, and probably W Brazil.
  • M. m. simplex Chapman, 1923 – N Brazil S of Amazon (from near Peru border E to upper R Xingu, S to N Mato Grosso and C Goiás).
  • M. m. cametensis E. Snethlage, 1912 – lower R Xingu (probably from lower R Tapajós) E to R Tocantins.
  • M. m. parensis Sharpe, 1892 – E Brazil from Amazon mouth E to Piauí and probably W Alagoas.
  • M. m. marcgravianus Pinto & Camargo, 1961 – Paraíba to Alagoas, in NE Brazil.
  • M. m. nattereri P. L. Sclater, 1858 – N & C Bolivia (mainly along Andean foothills).
  • M. m. pilcomajensis Reichenow, 1919 – E & S Bolivia and N Argentina (Salta) E to S Brazil (to S Goiás, W São Paulo and NW Paraná).
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; 120–160 g (momota), 105–141 g (ignobilis), 133–145 g (parensis), 85–118 g (pilcomajensis). Mid-... read more


    Double-noted. A soft, resonant “whOOP-hoop” or “cOOT-coot”, with the first note clearly rising,... read more


    Humid forest, seasonal forest, semi-arid open woodland, clearings with scattered trees, plantations... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects (especially Coleoptera and Orthoptera, but also including wasps such as Brachygastra moebiana) and many other... read more


    Lays in Sept–Oct and Jan–Feb in French Guiana, and Sept–Dec in S & C & N Brazil, N Argentina and Bolivia; post-... read more


    None recorded, with birds being retrapped in the same area up to two years after first being... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reasonably common over much of its range, although apparently rare in Paraguay and NE Brazil, where the race marcgravianus is probably... read more

    Recommended citation

    Snow, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Amazonian Motmot (Momotus momota). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 February 2020).