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.
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.
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.
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 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.