Puffbirds get their common name from their fluffy plumage. In Spanish, they have been nicknamed bobo (“dummy”) from their propensity to sit motionless waiting for prey.American naturalist Thomas Horsfield defined the Bucconidae in 1821. The family was classified as part of the Piciformes by Alexander Wetmore in his work A Systematic Classification for the Birds of the World.
Generally they are dull-plumaged birds, puffbirds may have brightly colored bills, eyebrows and irises. They have large heads, short wings and strong bills, with short legs and diminutive feet. There is some sexual dimorphism; the female is slightly larger and slightly duller-plumaged than the male. Juvenile birds have shorter beaks. Of the 55 species Costa Rica has 5 of them.