As all of my faithful readers well remember, the motmots around here make it their business to taunt me mercilessly. Usually, motmots show little caution of humans, posing for photographs quite readily (to the point, actually, that Costaricans allegedly call them pájaro bobo – silly birdie, rather than their proper name of momoto cejiceleste). I may be the only human, who has not experienced any motmot modeling since my “MotMotMockery” post from Saturday, October 1, 2011(!). Not a single photo opportunity in nearly 20 months.
Until today. As I was driving into town, a greenish iridescent blur flew across the road in front of my windshield and immediately all my sharply honed motmot alarms went off in a shrill cacophony of internally blaring sirens. Quick check in the rear view mirror, no cars behind me, stop, back up a few yards. And there he or she was, across the road, the shoulder, a grassy strip, and a gully, a Eumomota superciliosa, otherwise known as the Turquoise-browed Motmot. The Momotidae (Sägeracken) is a bird family in the Coraciiformes order, which makes them Hornbill (Nashornvögel) & Kingfisher (Eisvögel) relatives of the Neotropics.
A super picture of a motmot wasn’t in the cards today either. Just a couple of quick snaps with the cell phone and that was that. The cars, by now patiently lining up behind me, were too much trouble, even for a pájaro bobo and it took off. At least the brilliant coloration is apparent if not the species-specific racketed tail feathers. The birds wag their unusual tail-feathers in a pendulum motion as a pursuit-deterrent signal, when they detect a predator nearby. A little like saying to the predator, I’ve seen you, you’re dreaming, if you think you can catch me! This saves both bird & predator from wasting energy.