Bluethroated motmot

Aspatha gularis

TAXONOMY

Prionites gularis Lafresnaye, 1840, Guatemala. Monotypic. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Motmot a gorge bleue; German: Blaukehlmotmot; Spanish: Momoto Gorgiazul.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

2.0-2.3 oz (56-65 g), 11 in (28 cm). Side of head is ochre-colored, with a black spot behind eye. Green above and paler green below, with dark green tail. Blue throat with black spot on chest and blackish bill.

DISTRIBUTION

Mountains of southern Mexico to El Salvador. Overlaps the same geographic range as several other motmots but lives at higher altitudes.

HABITAT

Montane evergreen forest; 4,900-10,000 ft (1,500-3,100 m). BEHAVIOR

Appears solitary, but seems to maintain pair bonds during and between years. They are not very active, often go undetected. Tail often pendulates, sometimes jerkily. They are inactive at night, active at twilight at dawn and dusk. The blue-throated motmot sings at daybreak after leaving its earth hole; its song consists of pure full tones that rise and fall.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insects are seized in flight by sallying; beetles make up a high proportion of the diet. Fruits are also consumed.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

In Guatemalan highlands, motmots dig holes soon after young are fledged in late June or July. Pair spends nights in the hole during rainy season and dry winter months. In April the female lays 3-4 white eggs. After an incubation of 21-22 days, parents keep young warm for a considerable period. Young do not return to the nest hole at night after fledging.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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