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
2021-09-24 06:30Reserva Toh2
2021-09-20 07:59Hacienda Tres Rios1
2021-08-30 09:33Zona Arqueológica Cobá1
2021-09-24 06:55Hotel Oka'an4
2021-09-23 08:53Reserva Natural Amazili2
2021-08-31 12:00Zona Arqueológica Muyil (Chunyaxché)2
2021-09-24 08:00Camino de grava entre el Corchito y Estero de Chicxulub3
2021-09-09 09:35Camino a Misnébalam1
2021-08-28 18:00Parque de Santa María Chi1
2021-08-28 09:05Parque del Fraccionamiento del Parque1
2021-08-30 17:51Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún--Carretera 122
2021-09-09 07:30Playa del Sur de Celestún1
2021-09-18 16:12Zona Arqueológica Uxmal1
2021-09-16 09:24Zona Arqueológica Edzná1
2021-09-04 08:28Lagunas de Siho1
2021-09-01 07:18Desembocadura del Río Cangrejal1
2021-09-24 14:40CREDIA Jardín Botánico1
2021-09-18 07:00Jardín Botánico Lancetilla2
2021-09-16 07:55Parque Arqueológico Cuevas de Talgua1
2021-09-01 08:53Res. Priv. El Paraiso--Canopy Rawacala1
2021-09-14 06:26Desembocadura Río Masca y Playa de Masca1
2021-09-11 06:53Sendero El Colibrí y Río Masca1
2021-09-12 07:57Parque Ecológico Infantil San Ignacio4
2021-09-18 06:32Residencial Santa Mónica (Acceso Restringido)5
2021-09-19 07:56Finca La Trinidad (acceso Restringido)1
2021-09-15 12:56Reserva Natural Privada Luna del Puente4
2021-09-10 08:14Bioparque Paradise1
2021-09-17 10:22Lago de Yojoa--Parque Los Naranjos1
2021-09-14 06:04PN Azul Meámbar--PANACAM Lodge1
2021-08-28 14:50PN Azul Meambar--Calle entre PANACAM Lodge y Embalse Yure1
2021-09-22 08:40Lago de Yojoa--Oficinas de AMUPROLAGO1
2021-09-05 05:51PN Azul Meámbar--Sendero La Naturaleza (zona de amortiguamiento)1
2021-09-12 16:11Centro Turístico La Naturaleza--Área del hotel y restaurante1
2021-09-21 06:25Lago de Yojoa--Sector La Ensenada1
2021-09-01 17:15Siguatepeque--Sector Cruz Grande1
2021-09-04 09:49Lagunas de Oxidación de Siguatepeque1
2021-09-04 07:19Parque Ecológico Experimental San Juan1
2021-09-17 08:28Lagunas De Oxidación, La Paz1
2021-09-12 15:49Lagunas de Oxidación de Jesús de Otoro2
2021-08-27 06:06AquaParque El Yate (Depto. Copán)1
2021-08-29 07:10La Montañita Laguna1
2021-08-29 06:57UNAH campus central--Jardín Botánico1
2021-09-04 07:30Cerro Juana Laínez5
2021-09-19 06:43Zamorano Univ.--Campus Farms and River 740-815 masl2
2021-09-23 14:07Zamorano Univ.--Finca Agroecológica Santa Inés2
2021-09-01 08:00Tierra Blanca2
2021-09-05 08:08Sitio Arqueológico Ruinas de Copán2
2021-09-19 05:46Calle al sur de El Tizatillo (transecto de 9 kms)1
2021-09-03 11:43Astillero Municipal Lodechina2
2021-09-06 06:05Reserva Natural Heloderma11
2021-09-15 05:50Carretera de tierra al sureste de La Venta del Sur2
2021-09-02 17:08Sitio arqueológico Guaytan2
2021-08-31 15:51Somoto Canyon2
2021-09-15 06:59Represa José Cecilio del Valle3
2021-09-19 11:15Cerrón Grande--Sector Suchitoto1
2021-09-15 10:45Bosque Cinquera1
2021-09-18 09:22Guazapa Trail--Sitio Zapotal3
2021-09-17 15:24Cerro Guazapa--San José Palo Grande2
2021-08-27 17:40Volcán Chaparrastique--Bosque Pino-Roble1
2021-09-19 08:30Cerro El Limbo6
2021-08-28 09:03Laguna de Olomega1
2021-09-02 06:31Laguna Cuscachapa1
2021-08-28 09:02Parque Bicentenario--Sector Norte1
2021-09-23 07:53Parque del Bicentenario (ANP El Espino-Bosque Los Pericos)2
2021-09-21 05:55Ecoparque El Espino6
2021-09-05 10:41Walden Guatemala1
2021-09-15 06:00Finca El Zur1
2021-08-28 13:34Finca El Zur--garita1
2021-09-17 07:04Laguna Verde1
2021-09-14 08:25RNP Los Tarrales--La Isla2
2021-09-08 14:48RNP Los Tarrales--sendero a la playa y laguna1
2021-09-11 09:35Estero Jaltepeque--Sector San José2
2021-09-24 16:20Finca La Gracia2
2021-09-04 05:47Peninsula de Chiltepe--lado occidente5
2021-08-29 16:00Lago de Managua costa sur1
2021-09-05 07:08ANP Barra de Santiago--Bocana El Zapote1
2021-08-29 05:24Monterrico--Laguna Puente Grande1
2021-09-19 06:31El Guayabo Wetlands 5
2021-09-16 08:58Parque Ecológico1
2021-09-15 15:25Hotel Barceló Managua2
2021-09-07 07:30Reserva de la Biosfera La Encrucijada1
2021-09-22 15:20Intermezzo del Bosque2
2021-09-18 14:24Isletas de Granada--Península de Aseses1
2021-08-26 05:50Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya2
2021-09-23 07:05Reserva Natural Chocoyero El Brujo2
2021-09-21 10:50Reserva Privada Concepción de María3
2021-09-24 08:20Reserva Natura2
2021-09-19 09:26Buena Vista Lodge2
2021-09-01 09:19PN Rincón de la Vieja--Sector Las Pailas4
2021-09-13 10:33Hacienda Guachipelin2
2021-09-14 21:12PN Santa Rosa2
2021-09-20 05:44Entrada Hacienda El Nispero, Pozo Azul.1
2021-09-11 09:24Finca Nuevos Horizontes1
2021-09-14 10:09Río Perdido1
2021-09-19 05:30Hacienda La Pacifica6
2021-08-27 06:38Las Trancas farm fields (Rt 254 to Playa Panama)2
2021-09-24 09:18Lakeside School catfish farm2
2021-09-19 14:44Ecomuseo de Abangares1
2021-09-17 16:50Guanacaste, Reserva Forestal Taboga - ACAT, CR_JD2
2021-09-20 07:00Guanacaste, Abangares, Finca Experimental El Cerrito - ACAT, CR_JD2
2021-09-11 14:31Reserva Forestal Taboga--Ruff stakeout1
2021-09-22 08:08Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands1
2021-09-09 15:17PN Palo Verde--OTS Station and marsh2
2021-08-29 13:51Guacimal--Rancho del Rio1
2021-08-26 07:27RNVS Cipanci (sector Puente Amistad)2
2021-08-29 07:40Refugio de Vida Silvestre Corral de Piedra1
2021-09-24 09:46Ensenada Lodge--salt pannes and mangroves1
2021-09-24 14:02Ensenada Lodge1
2021-09-07 13:30Punta Morales--UNA Station (ECMAR)1
2021-09-21 10:25PN Barra Honda1
2021-09-23 11:08Punta Morales--Cocorocas salinas1
2021-09-13 10:05Punta Morales--Playa Blanca1
2021-09-24 06:34Tamarindo2
2021-09-11 06:19Chomes--beach and mudflats1
2021-09-18 06:15Potreros de Ceiba - Orotina2
2021-09-07 00:49Cerro Lodge entrance road2
2021-09-20 07:00Cerro Lodge1
2021-09-14 08:27PN Carara--main headquarters1
2021-09-22 06:47Tárcoles--Tour en Bote1
2021-09-11 07:54PN Carara--Sendero Quebrada Bonita2
2021-09-06 07:08Tárcoles--Playa Azul2
2021-09-06 11:06Tárcoles--localidad general1
2021-09-05 05:51Refugio Nacional Ostional1
2021-09-14 17:04Punta Islita--The Ara Project1
2021-09-18 05:27Jacó--Humedales Quebrada Bonita2
2021-09-04 06:14Tambor Tropical Resort1
2021-09-04 08:29Cabuya Birdwatching1