Friday Feathers- Drawing The Motmot

Rufous motmots, tails going tick-tock. Biggest motmot species in Panama. Biggest and most secretive, as far as I'm concerned. Watercolor over pencil, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island.

Rufous motmots, tails going tick-tock. Biggest motmot species in Panama. Biggest and most secretive, as far as I’m concerned. Watercolor over pencil, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island.

The motmot embodies the mystery of the tropics, an invisible voice behind the jungle’s green curtain. Secretive, it sometimes hides in plain view, relying on stillness for camouflage. The motmot is a ventriloquist. Its deep double note resonates from everywhere and no place in particular. Hoot-hoot. Mot-mot.

Broad billed motmot, really similar to Rufous but smaller, has a blue chin and a different call, more like a toy train whistle and less like a double owl hoot. Usually not too picky about being looked at, either. Oh, and the blue black grosbeak head study is a female (she is brown; the male gets the glory as usual). It's a nice little understory bird with a nearly parrot-like finch bill. Watercolor over pencil, S&B Alpha Series 8 1/2" x 11". Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

The Broad billed motmot looks much like the rufous motmot,  but is a bit smaller, has a blue chin and a call that sounds like a toy train whistle. Usually it’s not so picky about who’s watching it, either, which is really nice. Oh, and the blue black grosbeak is a female- cocoa brown. Her mate is bluish-black. They’re a little understory bird with an almost parrot-style chunky bill. Watercolor over pencil, S&B Alpha Series 8 1/2″ x 11″. Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

The elusive motmot is on every birder’s wish list and of course will be seen sooner or later. They are shy but not impossible. Patience and a quiet is the key to finding the motmot. Drawing it is another story.

Broad billed motmot, three poses, one bird. Drawn through the scope. 6B pencil on Robert Bateman sketchbook 8 1/2" x 11". Barro Colorado Island.

Broad billed motmot, three poses, one bird. Drawn through the scope. 6B pencil on Robert Bateman sketchbook 8 1/2″ x 11″. Barro Colorado Island.

It’s our last day on the Island of Barro Colorado. I have 5 blank pages left in my  sketchbook, and once I fill them up I will pack and feel wistful. Home beckons. A cat awaits. The lawn needs mowing. Onward and northward.

Happy Friday.

Rufous motmot, seen from far below, hiding behind a screen of leaves, which have been edited out. Had to sit on a tree root and look up to sketch it, which I'm not complaining about at least not until the chigger bites take hold. Then I'll gripe. 6B pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1'2" x 11" sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

Rufous motmot, seen from the trail below, peering through a screen of  motmot-shaped leaves, which were edited out on the fly.  6B pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1’2″ x 11″ sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

Broad billed motmot scanning for large insects from a complicated knot of branched wood, just a few dozen yards from our porch. Mechanical pencil and water soluble graphite on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island.

Broad billed motmot scanning from a complicated knot of branched wood just meters from our porch. Mechanical pencil and water soluble graphite on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook. Barro Colorado Island.

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About zeladoniac

Debby Kaspari travels the world with sketchbook and binoculars, drawing and painting in wild and not-so-wild landscapes. Norman, Oklahoma is her home base, and she lives there with her tropical ecologist husband and a mackerel tabby named Gizmo.
This entry was posted in Art, bird art, birding, birds, Drawing, Environment, field sketching, natural history, Nature, nature journaling, Panama, rainforest, Sketching, tropics, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Friday Feathers- Drawing The Motmot

  1. Becky Way says:

    Wonderful! Your drawings are amazing!

  2. dinahmow says:

    Well, I’m not likely to see or even hear a mot-mot, either here in NY(visiting) or at home, central east coast Australia.But I do have spangled drongoes! And struggle to draw them, too.

  3. Totally wonderful, Debby! Safe travels home. Thanks so for sharing your time a BCI.

  4. Pingback: 94: Stereotypes, Papers, Chess and more. | Almofate's Likes

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