PREDATORY BEHAVIOUR OF YOUNG TURQUOISE- BROWED MOTMOTS, EUMOMOTA SUPERCILIOSA by SUSAN M. SMITHS (Depto de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria, Costa Rica) (With 2 Figures) (Acc. 15-V-1975) Many species of tropical birds from several orders other than true raptors (i.e. hawks or owls) regularly take small vertebrate prey. Generally these groups (e.g. motmots (Momotidae), puffbirds (Bucconidae) and some Ty- rannidae in the neotropics) are "sit-and-wait" hunters having large heads and heavy powerful bills but often surprisingly small weak feet. The Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa), which ranges from southern Mexico to northwestern Costa Rica, is typical of such species. Weighing about 60-65 grams, it has a bill of approximately 40 mm (exposed culmen), yet its tarsi measure only about 21 mm. These measurements are strikingly different from those of a typical insectivorous species of compar- able weight such as the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniccus) with a bill of 22 mm and tarsi of 30 mm. The Turquoise-browed Motmot eats lizards and proLably small snakes, as well as a variety of insects including large wasps and many brightly coloured butterflies (SKUTCH, 1947). True raptors are well adapted morphologically for capturing large prey: in addition to their strong hooked
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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