Friday, February 12, 2016


With the exception of one particular motmot photo, my Panama motmot photos are amongst my most disappointing of the trip. Motmots are sit on a perch and be cooperative birds, and the birds we encountered mostly behaved this way.  Nevertheless, my photos are mostly terrible.

We saw all of the motmots in Panama, but for sharing the photos on my blog - readers, please accept my apologies.

Above and below:  Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii)

Above and below:  Whooping Motmot (Momotus subrufescens) was split from Blue-crowned Motmot (M. momota) - see Darrin O'Brien's comment below.  Initially I had identified as Blue -crowned.  The split must have occurred after 2010 or missed the edit in the 2010 The Birds of Panama field guide. The bird's vocalization was a "whooping" call and our guide referred to the bird as a whooping motmot.  We saw two birds at Parque Natural Metropolitano.

Above and below:  Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)

When we travelled to El Valle de Anton one of our target birds was the Tody Motmot.  It has several tiny ranges scattered throughout Panama. Apparently, according to eBird, everyone sees this bird at Cara Iguana. The property caretaker, Aniban, arrived on his bicycle and took us into the property.  While he was getting organized we looked at a few birds in the trees over the driveway, then Aniban led us on a trail.  We had to deviate from the trail to bushwack our way through twigs and small trees and over crunchy leaves to get to this little bird.  While we were doing this we flushed a Swainson's Thrush.  When we arrived at the Tody Motmot it took me some time to actually see the bird, so small and well-camouflaged was it.  

Above and below: my creme de la creme Tody Motmot (Hylomanes momotula)

These two photos, taken from under the dark canopy, were my best.  I took the lower photo just prior to the bird flying.  When I checked my camera, I was thrilled.  The Tody Motmot chase was one of the highlights of my trip. 

The three large motmots are widely distributed throughout Panama and we saw many.  At one point a trip member requested that we not stop for another motmot.  I wanted to shout "no", but then I realized that we moved along at such a slow pace anyway that I could stop for a motmot if I chose to.  The thing is, with the exception of the Tody, none of my photos turned out anyway.

1 comment:

Darrin OBrien said...

Bird taxonomy has changed in recent years. The Blue-crowned Motmot complex was split into several species. The one found in the canal zone should be Whooping Motmot (M. subrufescens).