In outward appearance the motmots have an undoubted resemblance to bee-eaters, but, though beautiful birds, various shades of blue and green predominating in their plumage, they do not exhibit such decided and brilliant colours; and, while the beeeaters are only found in the Old World, the motmots are a purely Neotropical form, extending from southern Mexico to Paraguay, and the majority of species inhabit Central America.
To these follow the tanagers (Tanagridae), with upwards of forty genera (only one of which crosses the border), and about 300 species; the piculules (Dendrocolaptidae), with as many genera, and over 200 species; the ant-thrushes, (Formicariidae), with more than thirty genera, and nearly 200 species; together with other groups which, if not so large as those just named, are yet just as well defined, and possibly more significant, namely, the tapaculos (Pteroptochidae), the toucans (Rhamphastidae), the jacamars (Galbulidae), the motmots (Monotidae), the todies (Todidae), the trumpeters (Psophiidae), and the screamers (Palamedeidae); besides such isolated forms as the seriema (Cariama), and the sun-bittern (Eurypyga).
Momotidae, neotropical, motmots and todies.
The motmots form the sub-family Momotinae, which with the Todinae (see ToDY) form the family Momotidae of Coraciiform birds, the nearest allies being rollers (q.v.) and kingfishers (q.v.).