Family Motmots (Momotidae)

Least Concern

Trinidad Motmot (Momotus bahamensis)


French: Motmot de Trinidad German: Trinidadmotmot Spanish: Momoto de Trinidad

Prionites bahamensis


, 1838,

#R Bahama Islands; error = Trinidad


Until recently considered conspecific with M. momota (also M. coeruliceps, M. lessonii, M. subrufescens and M. aequatorialis), but differs from M. coeruliceps and M. aequatorialis in characters given under those species, and from the other species in its much more bluish-green thighs (2), rich rufous underparts (2), turquoise-green postocular wedge between upper edge of black mask and blue-green supercilial line of diadem (2), broadest turquoise borders of black breast streaks (ns[1]), tail shortest of all taxa (at least 1), and single “whoop” call as in M. subrufescens (3 against all taxa except M. subrufescens)#R. Monotypic.


Trinidad and Tobago.

Descriptive notes

38–43 cm; 99–114 g. Black crown bordered by broad azure-blue stripe from bill to rear crown (diadem is incomplete), broad black lores and mask, blue ear-coverts, rufous-brown... read more


Single-noted calls, like those of M. subrufescens, but different from the double-noted... read more


Humid forest at mid to high elevations, plantations (e.g. cacao), and locally gardens; on Tobago... read more

Food and feeding

Few detailed data, but semi-tame birds on Tobago accept soaked bread, cheese and other human offerings. Overall, presumably similar in diet... read more


Lays in Apr–May on Trinidad, Mar–Jul on Tobago. Nest-burrow excavated usually in earth bank, very variable in length, not always straight,... read more


None known.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Much commoner in Tobago, where familiar with man and locally a tourist attraction, than in neighbouring Trinidad, where it is generally considered to... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Trinidad Motmot (Momotus bahamensis). 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 28 February 2020).