Turquoise-browed motmot

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Turquoise -browed motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot (16423222357).jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Momotidae
Genus: Eumomota
P.L. Sclater, 1858
E. superciliosa
Binomial name
Eumomota superciliosa
(Sandbach, 1837)

The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) also known as Torogoz, is a colourful, medium-sized bird of the motmot family, Momotidae. It inhabits Central America from south-east Mexico (mostly the Yucatán Peninsula), to Costa Rica, where it is common and not considered threatened. It lives in fairly open habitats such as forest edge, gallery forest and scrubland. It is more conspicuous than other motmots, often perching in the open on wires and fences. From these perches it scans for prey, such as insects and small reptiles. White eggs (3–6) are laid in a long tunnel nest in an earth bank or sometimes in a quarry or fresh-water well. Its name originates from the turquoise color of its brow. It was first declared as the official national bird of El Salvador in 1999, where the bird is known as Torogoz.

Bird Warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates with wings, feathers and beaks

Birds, also known as Aves or avian dinosaurs, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with approximately ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are more or less developed depending on the species; the only known groups without wings are the extinct moa and elephant birds. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species of birds. The digestive and respiratory systems of birds are also uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments, particularly seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming.

Motmot family of birds in the order Coraciiformes

The motmots or Momotidae are a family of birds in the near passerine order Coraciiformes, which also includes the kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. All extant motmots are restricted to woodland or forests in the Neotropics, and the largest are in Middle America. They have a colourful plumage and a relatively heavy bill. All except the tody motmot have relatively long tails that in some species have a distinctive racket-like tip.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.


A Torogoz in Joya de Ceren Mayan ruins in El Salvador ES 05 2012 Torogoz in Joya de Ceren 1465.jpg
A Torogoz in Joya de Ceren Mayan ruins in El Salvador

The bird is approximately 34 cm (13 in) long and weighs about 65 g (2.3 oz). It has a mostly green-blue body with a rufous back and belly. There is a bright blue stripe above the eye and a blue-bordered black patch on the throat. The flight feathers and upperside 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. [2]

Unlike most bird species, where only males express elaborate traits, the turquoise-browed motmot expresses the extraordinary racketed tail in both sexes. Research indicates that the tail has evolved to function differently for the sexes. Males apparently use their tail as a sexual signal, as males with longer tails have greater pairing success and reproductive success. [3] In addition to this function, the tail is used by both sexes in a wag-display, whereby the tail is moved back-and-forth in a pendulous fashion. [4] The wag-display is performed in a context unrelated to mating: both sexes perform the wag-display in the presence of a predator, and the display is thought to confer naturally selected benefits by communicating to the predator that it has been seen and that pursuit will not result in capture. This form of interspecific communication is referred to as a pursuit-deterrent signal. [5]

The call is nasal, croaking and far-carrying.

The turquoise-browed motmot is a well-known bird in its range and has been chosen as the national bird of both El Salvador and Nicaragua. [6] [7] It has acquired a number of local names including guardabarranco ("ravine-guard") in Nicaragua, Torogoz in El Salvador (based on its call) and pájaro reloj ("clock bird") in the Yucatán, based on its habit of wagging its tail like a pendulum. In Costa Rica it is known as momoto cejiceleste or the far-less flattering pájaro bobo ("foolish bird"), owing to its tendency to allow humans to come very near it without flying away.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Nicaragua Country in Central America

Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.

Pendulum weight suspended from a pivot

A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced sideways from its resting, equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position. When released, the restoring force acting on the pendulum's mass causes it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called the period. The period depends on the length of the pendulum and also to a slight degree on the amplitude, the width of the pendulum's swing.

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Katia Cardenal is a Nicaraguan singer/songwriter, and a part of the nueva trova movement. Katia and her brother Salvador Cardenal form the Duo Guardabarranco, one of the leading proponents of nueva trova, known for classical songs like Guerrero del amor, Guardabosques, Casa Abierta and Colibri. As a solo artist, Katia Cardenal has released seven albums with the Norwegian label Kirkelig Kulturverksted BRAZOS DE SOL, NAVEGAS POR LAS COSTAS, EN REVESLANDIA, FRAGANCIA, SUEÑO DE UNA NOCHE DE VERANO, VEN A MI CASA ESTA NAVIDAD, MESSE FOR KARI OG OLE (with norwegian choque Skruk, and three with Nicaraguan MOKA Discos. MARIPOSA DE ALAS ROTAS, HOJARASCA y MISA CAMPESINA NICARAGÜENSE.

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Miraflor Natural Reserve

Miraflor Natural Reserve is a nature reserve in Nicaragua. It is one of the 78 reserves that are under official protection in the country. It was declared a nature reserve in 1990. It is located 30 km (19 mi) from Estelí, Nicaragua, and spans an area of 206 km2 (80 sq mi).

Index of Central America-related articles

This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.


  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Eumomota superciliosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature . Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. Murphy, Troy G. (2007). "Lack of melanized keratin and barbs that fall off: how the racketed tail of the turquoise-browed motmot Eumomota superciliosa is formed". Journal of Avian Biology . Nordic Society Oikos. 38: 139–143. doi:10.1111/j.2007.0908-8857.04055.x.
  3. Murphy, Troy G. (2007). "Racketed tail of the male and female turquoise-browed motmot: male but not female tail length correlates with pairing success, performance, and reproductive success". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology . Springer-Verlag. 61 (6): 911–918. doi:10.1007/s00265-006-0320-z. Archived from the original on 2012-12-16.
  4. Murphy, Troy G. (2006). "Predator-elicited visual signal: why the turquoise-browed motmot wag-displays its racketed tail". Behavioral Ecology . International Society for Behavioral Ecology. 17 (4): 547–553. doi:10.1093/beheco/arj064.
  5. Murphy, Troy G. (2007). "Dishonest 'preemptive' pursuit-deterrent signal? Why the turquoise-browed motmot wags its tail before feeding nestlings". Animal Behaviour . Springer-Verlag. 73 (6): 965–970. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.10.020.
  6. "Decreto Legislativo No 735 del 21 de octubre de 1999" (PDF). Diario Oficial (in Spanish). San Salvador: Imprenta Nacional de El Salvador. 345 (216): 6. 19 November 1999. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  7. "Ley No. 795 que declara al guardabarranco, ave nacional de Nicaragua". Diario Oficial (in Spanish). Managua: La Gaceta (118). 25 June 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
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Trinity University (Texas) University in San Antonio, Texas

Trinity University is a private liberal arts university in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1869, its campus is located in the Monte Vista Historic District adjacent to Brackenridge Park. The campus is three miles north of downtown San Antonio and the River Walk and six miles south of the San Antonio International Airport. The student body consists of approximately 2,300 undergraduate and 200 graduate students. Trinity offers 42 majors and 57 minors among 6 degree programs and has an endowment of $1.24 billion, the 85th largest in the country, which permits it to provide resources typically associated with much larger colleges and universities.

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.