The national bird of Nicaragua is the Turquoise-browed Motmot.  Nicaraguans, however,  call it Guardabarranco, which translates to “ravine-guard.”  Whatever its common name Eumomota superciliosa is an inspired choice as a national bird as it is found across most of Nicaragua, even in the capital, Managua, and it is beautiful and interesting, with its multiple hues and racquet-tipped tail.  The Guardabarranco is described by Salvador Cardenal, one-half of a leading Nicaraguan musical duo named after the national bird, as “like a trogon, a beautiful bird of the rain forest. You can’t put it in a cage or it will die.”

As the national bird the Turquoise-browed Motmot is even on Nicaraguan currency, with its visage appearing on the 200-córdoba note.  Now that is cash that a birder would not want to spend!

Nicaragua is not the only country to have the Turquoise-browed Motmot as its national bird.  El Salvador also so honors Eumomota superciliosa but there the bird goes by the moniker Torogoz.

As far as national birds go a country can do far worse than a motmot, especially one as aesthetically pleasing as the Guardabarranco.

Want to see all of the national bird posts on 10,000 Birds?  Click on our National Birds page!


Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.