Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blue-diademed and Whooping Motmots

It is official, what we used to know as the Blue-crowned Motmot now consist of, at least, five species. This after the approval of proposal 412 by the South American Classification Committee (SACC), based in the published work of F. Gary Stiles. Of those species, two occur in Panama: the traditional and well recognized (by most panamanian birders) Whooping Motmot (Momotus subrufescens) of central and eastern Panama (CO, RE, OL, AR, SU, SP and OS at the map); and the Blue-diademed Motmot (Momotus lessoni) of western Panama (LE in the map). Now, I have a question considering that the range illustrated for the Whooping Motmot doesn't includes the Cocle province... what about the motmots I have been watching this month along the Zarati river in Penonome and the one I photographed some years ago in El Valle? According to their vocalizations, and the fact that lessoni has only been registered up to Herrera province (which not appears in the map either), those birds belongs to the Whooping Motmot species. Saying this, I only have photos of the Whooping Motmot, and the only sighting that I can remember of a Blue-diademed Motmot was MANY years ago in the road to Caldera (Chiriqui province). Two things caught my attention back then: the motmot was greener and it was perched on a barbed wire, in cattleland (not forest!). It seems that my life list grew by one!

The other three species are the Amazonian Motmot, Momotus momota (MI and MO at the map); the Highland (Andean) Motmot, Momotus aequatorialis (AQ at the map); and the Trinidad Motmot, Momotus bahamensis (BA at the map).


  1. Jan, I just saw my first Whooping Motmot on Pipeline Rd. At first I thought it was just another Blue-crowned Motmot until my guide Jose mentioned the split. I wonder when other authorities like the AOU will accept the split.

  2. Mike: congratulations for your life Whooping Motmot. I hope you're having a great birding time in Panama!

  3. Any idea what species would occur at Montuoso?