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Species Guide
A photo of a Lesson's Motmot (Momotus lessonii)
Lesson's Motmot

Lesson's Motmot

Momotus lessonii

The Lesson's motmot, also known as the blue-diademed motmot, is a vibrant bird adorned with a striking blue band that crowns its head, encircling a central black patch. Its face is characterized by a distinctive black eyemask, adding to its dramatic appearance.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Lesson's motmot, look for its notable black and blue head markings. The bird's overall plumage is rich and colorful, making it a visual treat, though it can be elusive in its dense forest home.


This species thrives in the forests and woodlands, where it blends into the lush foliage.


The Lesson's motmot ranges from southern Mexico to western Panama, a testament to its adaptability across various Central American environments.


These birds are known for their tendency to sit motionless, a behavior that, despite their size, can make them quite challenging to spot in the dense habitats they prefer.

Song & Calls

The call of the Lesson's motmot is a distinctive, low, owl-like "ooo-doot," a sound that resonates through its forested domain.


In line with many Coraciiformes, the Lesson's motmot nests in tunnels excavated in banks. They lay clutches of about three or four pristine white eggs.

Similar Species

The Lesson's motmot was once considered conspecific with other motmots, including the blue-capped motmot, whooping motmot, Trinidad motmot, Amazonian motmot, and Andean motmot. Observers should take care to note the specific head markings and calls to differentiate between these species.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Lesson's motmot is varied, including small prey such as insects and lizards. They also have a penchant for fruit, which they consume regularly.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Lesson's motmot as Least Concern, indicating that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.


There are three recognized subspecies of the Lesson's motmot:

  • M. l. goldmani, found from southwestern Mexico to northern Guatemala.
  • M. l. exiguus, residing in Campeche and Yucatán in southern Mexico.
  • M. l. lessonii, stretching from Chiapas in southern Mexico to western Panama.
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Lesson's Motmots on Birda


More Motmots

A photo of a Blue-throated Motmot (Aspatha gularis)

Blue-throated Motmot

Aspatha gularis
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