Family Motmots (Momotidae)

Least Concern

Blue-diademed Motmot (Momotus lessonii)


French: Motmot de Lesson German: Diademmotmot Spanish: Momoto diademado

Momotus Lessonii


, 1842,

Realejo, Nicaragua


Until recently was considered conspecific with M. momota (and M. coeruliceps, M. subrufescens, M. bahamensis and M. aequatorialis), but (assuming that races goldmani and exiguus are divergent in only minor ways) differs from latter four in characters given under those species, and from M. momota in its clearly distinct song in which the two notes are separated by a much longer interval (2; possibly 3), broad black vs narrow or non-existent hindcollar (adjacent to posterior diadem) (2), distinct black terminal third of racquets vs indistinct dusky border (2), and absence of rufous in occiput (1)#R. Specific name sometimes misspelt lessoni#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. l. goldmani Nelson, 1900 – E Mexico (Veracruz, N Oaxaca, Tabasco) and neighbouring Guatemala (Petén).
  • M. l. exiguus Ridgway, 1912 – Yucatán Peninsula.
  • M. l. lessonii Lesson, 1842 – S Mexico (Chiapas) SE to W Panama.
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; 77–102 g (exiguus), 97–148 g (lessonii). Mid-sized to large motmot with blue on crown, tail long and racquet-tipped; bill slightly decurved, both... read more


    Often vocalises from fairly open perches in canopy: a distinctive low double-hooting sound, “oot-... read more


    Found in many different wooded habitats, although may show some local restrictions (see Status and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and many other invertebrates, including snails, centipedes and earthworms; also small reptiles and mammals (e.g., a shrew ... read more


    Lays in Apr–Jun in S Mexico, and Mar–May in Costa Rica (although nest excavation can occur as early as Aug–Oct, during the local wet season... read more


    None definitely known, although it has been suggested that the species is only a wanderer to parts... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common in Mexico; common in much of Costa Rican range (except dry NW of country, where species is restricted to gallery forest, is... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Blue-diademed Motmot (Momotus lessonii). 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 20 February 2020).