Family Motmots (Momotidae)

Least Concern

Tody Motmot (Hylomanes momotula)


French: Motmot nain German: Zwergmotmot Spanish: Momoto enano

Hylomanes Momotula

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1839,

Valle Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico


Highly distinctive, with no obvious close relatives; usually regarded as primitive. Geographical variation possibly clinal; further study needed. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. m. momotula M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1839 – S Mexico (from S Veracruz and NE Oaxaca) E to E Nicaragua (where no recent records); probably this race in NW Costa Rica (Cordillera de Guanacaste, mainly on Pacific slope; recently recorded on Caribbean slope of Tilarán Mts#R).
  • H. m. chiapensis Brodkorb, 1938 – S Mexico (Pacific slope of Chiapas) E to Guatemala and possibly extreme W El Salvador.
  • H. m. obscurus Nelson, 1911 – Panama (from Veraguas) E to NW Colombia.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–18 cm; male 27–33 g, female 25–30 g. Much the smallest motmot, chunky and large-headed; tail shortish with central pair of rectrices only c. 6... read more


    A resonant, far-carrying, gruff-sounding "kwa-kwa-kwa-kwa..." or "quah quah quah... read more


    Humid evergreen forest, especially along ravines; to 1850 m.

    Food and feeding

    Insects, spiders and small snails; butterflies include species of Morpho. Unlike most other motmots, not recorded feeding on fruit... read more


    Food-carrying adult in Jun and fledgling with adult in early Jul in Belize; fledgling collected in Jun in Guatemala; in Colombia, egg-... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally local and uncommon throughout its fragmented range; fairly common to common on Atlantic slope from Mexico to Honduras; very uncommon in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Snow, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Tody Motmot (Hylomanes momotula). 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).