Family Motmots (Momotidae)


Keel-billed Motmot (Electron carinatum)


French: Motmot à bec caréné German: Kielschnabelmotmot Spanish: Momoto carenado

Prionites carinatus

Du Bus de Gisignies

, 1847,



Appears closely related to E. platyrhynchum, and the two might even be conspecific: very similar in structure and, apparently, in vocalizations, although differing notably in plumage; also, mixed pair, with courtship feeding, recorded in two successive seasons (and from three different sites in Volcán Arenal area#R) in Costa Rica; further research required. Monotypic.


E Guatemala and C & S Belize to N Honduras, C & E Nicaragua and N Costa Rica; populations from S Mexico (SE Veracruz, NE Oaxaca) and C Guatemala possibly extinct#R.

Descriptive notes

30·5–38 cm; male 65 g. Smallish motmot with moderately graduated tail, central rectrices with racquets; bill very broad, and flattened, with a pronounced culmen... read more


Vocalizations easily can be confused with those of E. platyrhynchum, a loud, far-carrying... read more


Inhabits humid evergreen forest, ­especially in areas with steep-sided gulleys and streams. In... read more

Food and feeding

No details of diet; apparently similar to that of E. platyrhynchum. Forages by aerial sallies from perch.


No details recorded. Males proclaim territories noisily in period Jan–Mar. In one area in Belize, steep-sided unexcavated Mayan... read more


None recorded.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Population currently considered to be 1500–7000 mature individuals. Overall range fairly extensive, estimated at 36,200 km2, but heavily fragmented and... read more

Recommended citation

Snow, D., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Keel-billed Motmot (Electron carinatum). 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 24 February 2020).