This is a colourful near-passerine bird found in the tropical regions from southern Mexico to northeastern Argentina.
This species and the blue-capped motmot, whooping motmot, Trinidad motmot, Lesson's motmot, and Andean motmot were all considered conspecific.
The central crown is black and surrounded by a blue band. There is a black eye-mask, and the nape of momota is chestnut.
The call is a low owl-like ooo-doot, although there are variations depending on the subspecies involved.
These birds often sit still, and in their dense forest habitat can be difficult to see, despite their size.
They eat small prey such as insects and lizards, and will also regularly take fruit.
Motmots nest in tunnels in banks, laying about three or four white eggs.