Momot bird in Costa Rica
The motmots or Momotidae are a family of birds in the near passerine order Coraciiformes, which also includes the kingfishers, bee-eatersand rollers. All extant motmots are restricted to woodland or forest in the Neotropics, and the largest diversity is in Middle America.
Motmots eat small prey such as insects and lizards, and will also take fruit. In Costa Rica, motmots have been observed feeding on poison dart frogs.
Like most of the Coraciiformes, motmots nest in tunnels in banks, laying about four white eggs. Some species form large colonies of up to 40 paired individuals. The eggs hatch after about 20 days, and the young leave the nest after another 30 days. Both parents care for the young.
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Motmots often move their tail back and forth in a wag-display that commonly draws attention to an otherwise hidden bird. Research indicates that motmots perform the wag-display when they detect predators (based on studies on turquoise-browed motmot) and that the display is likely to communicate that the motmot is aware of the predator and is prepared to escape. This form of interspecific pursuit-deterrent signal provides a benefit to both the motmot and the predator: the display prevents the motmot from wasting time and energy fleeing, and the predator avoids a costly pursuit that is unlikely to result in capture.
There is also evidence that the male tail, which is slightly larger than the female tail, functions as a sexual signal in the turquoise-browed motmot.
In several species of motmots, the barbs near the ends of the two longest (central) tail feathers are weak and fall off due to abrasion with substrates, or fall off during preening, leaving a length of bare shaft, thus creating the racket shape of the tail. It was however wrongly believed in the past that the motmot shaped its tail by plucking part of the feather web to leave the racket.
This was based on inaccurate reports made by Charles William Beebe. It has since been shown that these barbs are weakly attached and fall off due to abrasion with substrates and during routine preening. There are however also several species where the tail is “normal”, these being the tody motmot, blue-throated motmot, rufous-capped motmot, and the Amazonian populations of the rufous and broad-billed motmots.
Size: The Motmot is 3448 cm (1318 in) long, depending on race. Average length is 34 centimeters (13.39 inches). It has a very long tail with a bare-shafted racket tip
Weight: It may weigh as little as 60-65 grams, while the upland Motmot may weigh up to 175 grams. The average wingspan is 122 mm ( 4.80 inches)
Diet : Motmots feed invertebrates, or animals like butterflies, beetles,caterpillars, centipedes, crabs, dragonflies, earthworms, millipedes, scorpions, spiders, snails, nestling birds, frogs, lizards, small fishes, and small snakes. They also eat fruits. It is noticed that the larger species has more fruits in his diet.