Motmots (Momotidae)

Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) - HBW 6, p. 283

French: Motmot houtouc German: Blauscheitelmotmot Spanish: Momoto Común
Other common names: Lesson’s Motmot (“lessonii group”); Caribbean/Tawny-bellied Motmot (“subrufescens group”); Blue-diademed Motmot (“momota group”)

Taxonomy: Ramphastos momota Linnaeus, 1766, Cayenne.
Quite closely related to M. aequatorialis, and sometimes treated as conspecific, but significant differences in size and plumage, as well as ecological differences, almost certainly justify their being ranked as separate full species. Very wide distribution and considerable geographical, as well as individual, variation have led to numerous races being named; situation complex, however, and taxonomic revision needed. Races goldmani, exiguus and lessonii sometimes referred to as “lessonii group”, conexus, subrufescens, spatha and o.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Ramphastos momota Linnaeus, 1766, Cayenne.
Quite closely related to M. aequatorialis, and sometimes treated as conspecific, but significant differences in size and plumage, as well as ecological differences, almost certainly justify their being ranked as separate full species. Very wide distribution and considerable geographical, as well as individual, variation have led to numerous races being named; situation complex, however, and taxonomic revision needed. Races goldmani, exiguus and lessonii sometimes referred to as “lessonii group”, conexus, subrufescens, spatha and osgoodi as “subrufescens group”, and all other populations E & S from NC Colombia as “momota group”; these groups, along with coeruliceps, sometimes thought possibly to represent four separate species; in particular, populations in E Panama differ from those in W in several plumage characters, as well as in size and, apparently, voice, with no recorded intergradation, suggesting they are possibly distinct species; also, isolated Trinidad and Tobago race bahamensis rather distinct, would probably be considered separate species on basis of molecular genetics. Populations of E Panama and NW Colombia, described as race reconditus, now included in conexus. Twenty subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • coeruliceps (Gould, 1836) - NE Mexico (E Nuevo Leon, S Tamaulipas).
  • goldmani Nelson, 1900 - E Mexico (Veracruz, N Oaxaca, Tabasco) and neighbouring Guatemala (Petén).
  • exiguus Ridgway, 1912 - Yucatán Peninsula.

     See all 20 subspecies
  • coeruliceps (Gould, 1836) - NE Mexico (E Nuevo Leon, S Tamaulipas).
  • goldmani Nelson, 1900 - E Mexico (Veracruz, N Oaxaca, Tabasco) and neighbouring Guatemala (Petén).
  • exiguus Ridgway, 1912 - Yucatán Peninsula.
  • lessonii Lesson, 1842 - S Mexico (Chiapas) E to W Panama.
  • conexus Thayer & Bangs, 1906 - C Panama to NW Colombia.
  • subrufescens P. L. Sclater, 1853 - Caribbean coast of N Colombia (S to Magdalena Valley) to Venezuela.
  • spatha Wetmore, 1946 - Guajira Peninsula (Serranía de Macuira), in N Colombia.
  • osgoodi Cory, 1913 - NW Venezuela and adjacent Colombia (to Norte de Santander).
  • bahamensis (Swainson, 1838) - Trinidad and Tobago.
  • olivaresi Hernández & Romero, 1978 - NC Colombia (Santander, Boyacá).
  • argenticinctus Sharpe, 1892 - W Ecuador and NW Peru W of Andes.
  • microstephanus P. L. Sclater, 1858 - lowlands E of Andes in E Colombia, W Venezuela, E Ecuador, NE Peru and NW Brazil (E to upper R Negro).
  • momota (Linnaeus, 1766) - from R Orinoco E to N Brazil (Amapá), S to N bank of lower Amazon.
  • ignobilis Berlepsch, 1889 - E Peru, N Bolivia, and probably W Brazil.
  • simplex Chapman, 1923 - N Brazil S of Amazon (from near Peru border E to upper R Xingú, S to N Mato Grosso and C Goiás).
  • cametensis Snethlage, 1912 - lower R Xingú (probably from lower R Tapajós) E to R To­­cantins.
  • parensis Sharpe, 1892 - from Amazon mouth E to Piauí and probably W Alagoas.
  • marcgraviana Pinto & Camargo, 1961 - Paraiba, in NE Brazil.
  • nattereri P. L. Sclater, 1858 - N & C Bolivia (mainly along Andean foothills).
  • pilcomajensis Reichenow, 1919 - E Bolivia and N Argentina E to S Brazil (to S Goiás, S São Paulo and NW Paraná).