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Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

From Opus

Photo by Ciro AlbanoRibeiro Gonçalves, Piauí State, Brazil, January 2005
Photo by Ciro Albano
Ribeiro Gonçalves, Piauí State, Brazil, January 2005
Glaucidium brasilianum

Includes Ridgway's Pygmy-Owl; Tucuman Pygmy-Owl


[edit] Identification

15–19 cm (6-7½ in)
Red, brown, and grey morphs occur, and tail varies having whitish, orange-buffy, or very faint bars. Upperside generally dark with white spots, underside pale with prominent dark streaks (extent of streaks is variable). Face has prominent white eye-brows and crown is marked with short pale streaks.

As with most Pygmy-Owls, there are dark areas on the back of the head imitating an extra pair of eyes, most frequently with pale markings above the dark. Eyes are yellow, bill is greenish yellow, and toes are pale with especially tips of claws dark.

[edit] Variation

Reddish-brown bird showing the rear 'eyes' (pale markings over dark)Photo by njlarsenHazienda Chichén, Yucatan, Mexico, May 2012
Reddish-brown bird showing the rear 'eyes' (pale markings over dark)
Photo by njlarsen
Hazienda Chichén, Yucatan, Mexico, May 2012

A red morph of the tucumanum form was described as: it's upper-parts were unmarked, except for some very fine whitish streaking on the forehead, crown and sides of the face, false eyes, whitish marks on the scapulars and about six reddish-buff tail bands. The breast was conspicuously white, with two upper central dark spots. Otherwise streaked below. Eyes and bill were yellow.

[edit] Similar species

Where overlapping with Northern Pygmy Owl they usually segregate by elevation with Northern at higher elevation. Ferruginous Pygmy Owl shows no pale collar around the neck, and tail is mostly longer than similar species.

[edit] Distribution

From Arizona and south-east Texas through Mexico and Central America to South America where found east of the Andes to Argentina.

[edit] Taxonomy

Subspecies phaloenoides Photo by DABSBrasso Seco, Trinidad, April 2017
Subspecies phaloenoides
Photo by DABS
Brasso Seco, Trinidad, April 2017

In the past, Austral Pygmy-Owl has been considered part of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Konig et al.2 additionally have split subspecies ridgwayi (including cactorum and the not universally recognized saturatum) as the full species Ridgway's Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium ridgwayi which would include the birds from Panama to the USA; this has not been recognized by any of the world-wide checklists. Tucuman Pygmy-Owl (ssp tucumanum) is also sometimes split as full species.

[edit] Subspecies

Thirteen subspecies are recognized by Clements1.

  • G. b. cactorum: South-eastern Arizona and western Mexico (Sonora to Oaxaca)
  • G. b. saturatum: Southern Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala
  • G. b. ridgwayi: Southern Texas (lower Rio Grande Valley) to Panama (Canal Zone)
  • G. b. medianum: Tropical lowlands of northern Colombia
  • G. b. margaritae: Isla Margarita (Venezuela)
  • G. b. phaloenoides: Tropical northern Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas
  • G. b. duidae: Tepuis of southern Venezuela (Mount Duida)
  • G. b. olivaceum: Tepuis of southern Venezuela (Mount Auyan-TepuĂ­)
  • G. b. ucayalae: Eastern base of Andes of south-eastern Colombia to Peru and northern Bolivia
  • G. b. brasilianum: Southern Amazonian Brazil to eastern Paraguay, Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina
  • G. b. pallens: Chaco of eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay and northern Argentina
  • G. b. stranecki: Southern Uruguay to central Argentina
  • G. b. tucumanum (Tucuman): Subtropical western Argentina (Salta and Tucumán to CĂłrdoba)

[edit] Habitat

A wide variety of habitats from primary lowland forest to coastal scrub and semi-open areas.

[edit] Behaviour

Crepuscular, with some activity at both day and night (especially moon-lit nights). May even spontaneously sing in the middle of the day and is easily provoked to do so by imitation.

[edit] Diet

Their diet includes eggs and chicks of birds, smaller mammals and other vertebrates, and insects. In South America known to take birds up to the size of thrushes and Eared Dove (latter especially by larger southern subspecies). In the north considered a species that feeds mostly based on opportunity.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. König, C., F. Weick, & J.-H. Becking. 1999. Owls - a guide to the owls of the world. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300079206
  3. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2
  4. Birds of North America Online
  5. Birdforum thread with description of this species

[edit] External Links


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