Torogoz, guardabarranco, pájaro reloj, momoto cejiceleste, far-less flattering pájaro bobo
The Turquoise-browed motmot is a colorful, medium-sized bird of the motmot family. It has a mostly grey-blue body with a rufous back and belly. There is a bright blue strip above the eye and a blue-bordered black patch on the throat. The flight feathers and upper side 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.
Turquoise-browed motmots are found in Central America from south-east Mexico (mostly the Yucatán Peninsula), to Costa Rica. These birds live in fairly open habitats such as forest edge, gallery forest and scrubland.
Turquoise-browed motmots are non-migratory birds that are active during the day. They are more conspicuous than other motmots, often perching in the open on wires and fences. From these perches, they scan for prey, such as insects and small reptiles. Turquoise-browed motmots are social birds; they live in pairs or in small groups but nest in big colonies. They are generally quiet but during the breeding season, these birds become very vocal. Their common call is nasal, croaking, and far-carrying.
Turquoise-browed motmots are monogamous and form pair bonds that may last for several years. Their mating season usually begins in March. These birds nest in burrows which they excavate in an earth bank or sometimes in a quarry or fresh-water well. Breeding pairs nest close together and both the male and female take part in excavating their burrow. The burrow itself is a long tunnel that widens into a chamber with the nest. The female lays 3 to 6 white eggs and can produce two broods per season. The incubation period is around 3 weeks shared by both parents. The chicks are altricial; they are born blind with pink skin and completely helpless. The chicks remain in the burrow until they fledge and learn how to fly which usually occurs at the age of 1 month.
Turquoise-browed motmots are common and not considered threatened. However, declines in their populations are possible due to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total Turquoise-browed motmot population size is approximately 50,000-499,999 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Turquoise-browed motmots play an important role in their ecosystem. These birds control populations of insects and also help to disperse seeds of fruits. They also provide nesting sites for some burrow-living bird species such rough-winged swallows which often use motmots' tunnels for laying eggs.