Blue-diademed Motmot - Momotus lessonii How to deter a predator without having to flee

Also commonly known as Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus lessonii (Coraciiformes - Momotidae) is a beautiful bird found in Mexico and Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama).

Momotus lessonii is a relatively large and slow-flying forest bird, it builds conspicuous nest tunnels in mud banks, and it often forages on the ground, sallying from the same predictable perch. These particular behaviors increase the Blue-diademed Motmot’s vulnerability predators, but to deter predators this motmot (as all species in the family), repeatedly wag their long tails from side to side like a pendulum, drawing immediate attention to their tail, in a tail wag display, which tells predators that it is aware of their presence and is prepared to flee. 

These non-aggressive signals from prey to predator are advantageous for both: the predator wastes no energy on what would be an unsuccessful attack and the prey conserves energy by avoiding the need to escape. 

Reference: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Marcelo Camacho | Locality: Panama (2012)

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