The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) is a colourful, medium-sized bird of the motmot family, Momotidae. It inhabits Central America from south-east Mexico (mostly the Yucatán Peninsula), to Costa Rica, where it is common and not considered threatened. It lives in fairly open habitats such as forest edge, gallery forest and scrubland. It is more conspicuous than other motmots, often perching in the open on wires and fences. From these perches it scans for prey, such as insects and small reptiles. White eggs (3–6) are laid in a long tunnel nest in an earth bank or sometimes in a quarry or fresh-water well. Its name originates from the turquoise color of its brow.



The bird is approximately 34 cm (13 in) long and weighs about 65 g (2.3 oz). It has a mostly green-blue body with a rufous back and belly. There is a bright blue stripe above the eye and a blue-bordered black patch on the throat. The flight feathers and upperside of the tail are blue. The tips of the tail feathers are shaped like rackets and the bare feather shafts are longer than in other motmots. Although it is often said that motmots pluck the barbs off their tail to create the racketed shape, this is not true; the barbs are weakly attached and fall off due to abrasion with substrates and with routine preening.

Unlike most bird species, where only males express elaborate traits, the turquoise-browed motmot expresses the extraordinary racketed tail in both sexes. Research indicates that the tail has evolved to function differently for the sexes. Males apparently use their tail as a sexual signal, as males with longer tails have greater pairing success and reproductive success. In addition to this function, the tail is used by both sexes in a wag-display, whereby the tail is moved back-and-forth in a pendulous fashion. The wag-display is performed in a context unrelated to mating: both sexes perform the wag-display in the presence of a predator, and the display is thought to confer naturally selected benefits by communicating to the predator that it has been seen and that pursuit will not result in capture. This form of interspecific communication is referred to as a pursuit-deterrent signal.

The call is nasal, croaking and far-carrying.

The turquoise-browed motmot is a well-known bird in its range and has been chosen as the national bird of both El Salvador and Nicaragua. It has acquired a number of local names including guardabarranco ("ravine-guard") in Nicaragua, torogoz in El Salvador (based on its call) and pájaro reloj ("clock bird") in the Yucatán, based on its habit of wagging its tail like a pendulum. In Costa Rica it is known as momoto cejiceleste or the far-less flattering pájaro bobo ("foolish bird"), owing to its tendency to allow humans to come very near it without flying away.
Turquoise-browed Motmot
Date Location Count
2020-02-14 07:41Central Vallarta (pueblo)1
2020-02-16 07:14Reserva Toh--Ruta de los Cenotes2
2020-02-20 07:05Reserva Toh1
2020-02-16 08:00Sandos Caracol Eco Resort1
2020-02-17 07:10Cenote Kikil1
2020-02-16 12:13Zona Arqueológica Ek Balam1
2020-02-16 07:12Ek Balam (pueblo)1
2020-01-29 07:30Camino Cobá1
2020-02-03 08:46Zona Arqueológica Cobá1
2020-02-01 06:44Sendero de Xocen1
2020-01-27 15:50Zona Arqueológica Xcambó1
2020-02-08 08:00Zona Arqueológica Chichén Itzá2
2020-01-28 07:28Tzucmuc--Sendero del Huay Kot (Privado)1
2020-01-26 10:36Zona Arqueológica Muyil (Chunyaxché)1
2020-02-08 07:24Chunyaxché (Pueblo)1
2020-01-25 07:25Instituto Tecnologico de Conkal1
2020-01-26 07:06Zona Arqueológica Ruinas de Aké1
2020-01-25 09:29Camino a Misnébalam1
2020-01-31 10:15PN Dzibilchaltun1
2020-02-01 08:15Parque Ecológico Kai Luum1
2020-01-30 07:03Parque Científico Tecnológico de Yucatán1
2020-02-20 08:12Jardín Botánico Regional Roger Orellana1
2020-02-15 08:02Sotuta (pueblo)1
2020-02-04 16:51Parque Hundido del Poniente1
2020-02-13 08:47Parque Zoológico Bicentenario Animaya1
2020-01-31 08:58Zona Arqueológica Mayapán
2020-02-14 12:42Cenote de Camino a Chunchucmil1
2020-01-24 08:18Zona Arqueológica de Oxkintok3
2020-02-11 08:17Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo
2020-02-17 06:20Uxmal Resort Maya2
2020-02-17 09:20Zona Arqueológica Uxmal1
2020-01-29 10:18Zona Arqueológica Kabáh1
2020-02-08 10:48Sendero Cerca a Labná1
2020-01-27 11:32Zona Arqueológica Xlapak1
2020-02-03 09:30Nohalal--Sendero al Este1
2020-02-07 09:43Humedal de Chemblás1
2020-02-15 08:18Zona Arqueológica Edzná1
2020-02-09 09:16Hotel Barcelo1
2020-02-13 06:48Desembocadura del Río Cangrejal1
2020-02-03 08:45CREDIA jardín botánico1
2020-02-15 07:01Tren de La Unión a RVS Cuero y Salado1
2020-02-09 09:47Corinto Pearl Eco Resort1
2020-01-30 07:24Sendero Propino1
2020-02-13 14:47PN Pico Bonito--Loop Trail at The Lodge1
2020-02-15 06:30El Carril bridge2
2020-02-15 08:30RVS Colibrí Esmeralda Hondureño--Centro Visitantes2
2020-02-19 08:00Sendero El Colibrí y Río Masca1
2020-02-17 13:30Parque Ecológico Infantil San Ignacio4
2020-02-02 09:23Laguna de Jucutuma1
2020-01-26 07:10Reserva Merendón--Sector Rótulo de Coca Cola1
2020-02-02 15:49Pantanos de Potrerillos- Carretera a Bomba Achicadora1
2020-02-06 16:52Aldea El Milagro1
2020-02-22 06:32El Rancho Hotel y Restaurante2
2020-01-28 06:04Lago Yojoa--Finca Las Glorias1
2020-02-15 06:00Lago Yojoa--Sector Cortijo del Lago8
2020-02-08 06:26Lago Yojoa--Sector Agua Azul1
2020-02-08 07:27Lago Yojoa--Ruta Noreste Monitoreo1
2020-02-08 10:44Lago Yojoa--Ruta NorOeste para Monitoreo1
2020-01-26 07:52Lago Yojoa--Sector La Ensenada1
2020-02-09 16:55Siguatepeque--Sector Cruz Grande2
2020-01-24 10:26Parque Ecológico Experimental San Juan1
2020-01-24 06:11Lagunas De Oxidación, La Paz3
2020-01-26 17:55AquaParque El Yate (Depto. Copán)1
2020-02-13 12:01Parque Naciones Unidas El Picacho1
2020-02-21 06:51UNAH campus central--Jardín Botánico1
2020-02-09 06:45Cerro Juana Laínez4
2020-02-16 07:00Zamorano Univ.--Campus Farms and River 740-815 msnm2
2020-02-20 07:48Zamorano Univ.--Finca Agroecológica Santa Inés1
2020-02-13 06:02Sitio Arqueológico Rastrojón y Hotel Clarion2
2020-02-20 15:35Sitio Arqueológico LAS SEPULTURAS4
2020-02-20 08:00Copan Ruinas (sitio arqueológico)1
2020-02-21 06:20Hacienda San Lucas, Sitio Arq. Los Sapos y caminata comunidad La Pintada2
2020-02-18 08:30Reserva Natural Heloderma2
2020-02-15 07:05Carretera de tierra al sureste de La Venta del Sur1
2020-02-15 08:25Represa José Cecilio del Valle1
2020-02-14 08:05Piedra Parada1
2020-02-13 06:10Rastrojo y Torre1
2020-02-09 06:56Finca Ecoturística La Chaparrosa1
2020-02-12 08:23Embalse Cerrón Grande--Sector El Paraiso3
2020-02-09 07:29Asunción Mita2
2020-02-17 06:20Cerrón Grande--Sector Suchitoto1
2020-02-17 15:20Cascada Los Tercios1
2020-02-08 06:46Hacienda Los Nacimientos2
2020-02-21 06:48Casa 1800 Suchitoto, El Salvador1
2020-02-11 11:06Parque Arqueológico Cihuatán1
2020-02-21 13:19Bosque Cinquera1
2020-02-11 06:13Laguna de Olomega3
2020-02-04 08:11Universidad de El Salvador2
2020-02-18 07:00Parque Cuscatlán1
2020-02-21 14:34Parque del Bicentenario (ANP El Espino-Bosque Los Pericos)1
2020-02-13 06:21Ecoparque El Espino1
2020-02-16 07:17Parque Bicentenario--Sector Sur1
2020-02-17 15:00Walden Guatemala1
2020-02-05 17:30Finca Cosiguina Sur1
2020-02-07 06:07Laguna de Pueblo Nuevo2
2020-02-14 06:00Reserva de la Biosfera El Triunfo--Campamento Paval1
2020-01-30 15:20RNP Los Tarrales--San Pedro Trail1
2020-02-18 17:50RNP Los Tarrales--sendero La Rinconada1
2020-02-15 15:05RNP Los Tarrales--sendero a la playa y laguna1
2020-02-21 11:05Finca La Gracia1
2020-02-13 07:06Reserva Privada Montibelli 1
2020-02-18 05:30Isletas de Granada2
2020-02-21 13:43Isletas de Granada--Península de Aseses2
2020-02-02 07:04Isletas de Granada--Puerto de las Piedras Pintadas y costa1
2020-02-11 07:30Reserva Natural Chocoyero El Brujo2
2020-02-21 15:34Reserva Privada Concepción de María1
2020-02-12 09:39Finca Tamashan--Camaroneras1
2020-02-14 09:56Reserva Privada Quelantaro3
2020-02-19 09:05Reserva Natura1
2020-02-07 05:59Finca Mono Bayo2
2020-02-08 10:00RVS Junquillal--Playa Junquillal1
2020-02-12 09:32Buena Vista Lodge1
2020-02-13 08:20PN Rincón de la Vieja--Sector Las Pailas1
2020-01-24 05:15PN Santa Rosa--Casona1
2020-02-07 11:51Hacienda Guachipelin1
2020-02-17 05:30PN Santa Rosa2
2020-02-13 07:07Estación Experimental Forestal Horizontes1
2020-01-27 06:10Liberia--Hilton Garden Inn (airport)2
2020-02-03 06:14Playa Panama1
2020-02-14 06:50Playa Hermosa--Town1
2020-02-11 05:54Lakeside School catfish farm2
2020-02-13 06:46Playas Del Coco1
2020-02-08 06:07Bagaces to Palo Verde road--Falconiana1
2020-02-19 07:03Playa Ocotal3
2020-02-14 06:30Playa Matapalo5
2020-02-11 09:10Monteverde--San Luis BR (Limited Access)1
2020-02-14 06:05PN Palo Verde1
2020-01-24 09:30Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands1
2020-01-30 07:39PN Palo Verde--OTS Station and marsh1
2020-01-25 07:35Playa Potrero1
2020-02-13 10:30Hacienda Solimar6
2020-01-25 07:30Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mata Redonda1
2020-02-07 05:45Ensenada Lodge--salt pannes and mangroves4
2020-02-17 05:57Ensenada Lodge1
2020-01-26 05:45Ensenada lodge boat tour1
2020-01-29 10:31Playa Grande1
2020-01-24 13:33PN Las Baulas--Estuary and Mangroves1
2020-02-07 14:30Punta Morales--Cocorocas salinas1
2020-02-01 06:53JW Marriott and Hacienda Pinilla vicinity1
2020-02-20 06:14Turubari Park4
2020-02-20 15:31La Ceiba de Orotina2
2020-02-12 07:25Guacimo Road1
2020-02-13 14:46Cerro Lodge entrance road2
2020-02-21 15:45Cerro Lodge1
2020-02-20 06:31Reserva Monte Alto5
2020-02-16 15:30Playa Guacalillo1
2020-02-17 08:25PN Carara--Sendero La Meandrica1
2020-02-20 07:43Road below Cerro Lodge4
2020-02-08 09:45PN Carara (Localidad General)--historical please use other hotspots1
2020-02-20 15:25Río Tarcoles--mangroves5
2020-02-03 13:30PN Carara--main headquarters2
2020-02-21 15:02Tárcoles--Tour en Bote1
2020-01-30 07:30Tárcoles--Playa Azul1
2020-02-15 11:42Tárcoles--localidad general2
2020-02-13 05:59Villa Lapas1
2020-02-07 07:00Curu Wildlife Reserve2
2020-01-31 06:15Refugio Nacional Ostional1
2020-02-20 15:38Punta Leona Resort--forest reserve1
2020-01-31 10:34Reserva Biológica Nosara (Lagarta)1
2020-01-27Rio Nosara estuary2
2020-02-13 06:00Playa Pelada3
2020-02-17 09:03Playa Guiones1
2020-02-16 16:30Raptor Ridge2
2020-02-12 07:00Playa Carrillo2
2020-02-15 06:30Hotel Villas Playa Samara3
2020-02-08 15:00Jacó--Humedales Quebrada Bonita1
2020-02-09 07:35Jacó--Localidad general1
2020-02-15 05:45Río Panica 3
2020-02-06 06:32Tambor Tropical Resort2
2020-02-09 05:47Playa Hermosa (Jaco)2
2020-02-04 09:10Rio Lajas estuary2
2020-02-06 16:06Cabuya birdwatching1