Family Motmots (Momotidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-capped Motmot (Baryphthengus ruficapillus)


French: Motmot oranroux German: Rotkopfmotmot Spanish: Momoto yeruvá oriental

Baryphonus ruficapillus


, 1818,

Lima, Peru; error = south-east Brazil


Closely related to B. martii (which see), and often treated as conspecific. Proposed Brazilian races aeruginosus (Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro), septentrionalis (São Paulo) and abreui (Paraná) shown in recent study all to be based on individual variation, without geographical significance; berlai (Goiás) regarded as an invalid name. Monotypic.


E & S Brazil (Bahia and C Goiás S to Mato Grosso do Sul and N Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).

Descriptive notes

42 cm; 140–151g. Large motmot. Both sexes have rufous crown and nape, and black eye-mask bordered with ­turquoise; green upperparts, including wing-­coverts and... read more


Vocalizes primarily pre-dawn and at dusk, when gives a brief fast hooting series of "hoo-oo-oo... read more


Primary lowland forest, and gallery forest along watercourses; to 1200 m.

Food and feeding

Mainly large insects and insect larvae, spiders, land molluscs, small reptiles, small mammals and small birds; also some fruit. Young in... read more


Excavation of burrows recorded in Jan–Apr (when earth damp from summer rain); lays probably in Sept–Oct, with records of... read more


None recorded.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. No information on numbers, but apparently not uncommon locally. Has, however, undergone widespread decline as result of deforestation and only... read more

Recommended citation

Snow, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Rufous-capped Motmot (Baryphthengus ruficapillus). 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 26 February 2020).