One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tree-dwelling tropical American bird with colourful plumage, typically having two long racket-shaped tail feathers.
Family Momotidae: several genera and species, in particular the widespread blue-crowned motmot (Momotus momota)
- ‘On the premises were ten species of hummingbirds, slaty-tailed trogons, rufous and broad-billed motmots, collared aricaris.’
- ‘You didn't think that toucans and motmots were just going to fly over your New Jersey home, did you?’
- ‘Like motmots and todies, kingfishers often have brilliant plumage, are largely insectivorous, and nest in cavities that are often excavated in earthen banks.’
- ‘By the early 1990s, he was noticing that blue-crowned motmots, brown jays, golden-crowned warblers and other birds of drier, lower-elevation rain forests had begun nesting in his study area.’
- ‘Oligocene fossils of todies and motmots from Wyoming and France, for example, indicate that the current ranges of these two groups are relictual.’
- ‘But a dam upriver would have caused greater flooding in the Raspaculo, where the threatened keel-billed motmot, a bright-green songbird, nests.’
Early 19th century: from Latin American Spanish, of imitative origin.
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