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Vermiculated Screech Owl

From Opus

Vermiculated Screech Owl, M. g. vermiculatusPhoto by Don GatoLa Selva Biological Station (OTS), Sarapiqui de Heredia, Costa Rica, February 2005
Vermiculated Screech Owl, M. g. vermiculatus
Photo by Don Gato
La Selva Biological Station (OTS), Sarapiqui de Heredia, Costa Rica, February 2005
Megascops guatemalae

Otus guatemalae
Includes Middle American Screech-Owl, Rio Napo Screech-Owl; Roraima Screech-Owl; Choco Screech Owl


[edit] Identification

20-23cm (7¾-9 in)

  • Medium brown
  • Under parts heavily streaked with fine crossbars
  • Darker brown streaks on forehead
  • Yellow iris
  • Greenish yellow bill
  • Indistinct white eyebrows

[edit] Distribution

Choco Screech Owl, M. g. centralisPhoto by COLOMBIA BirdingCanopy Tower, Panama, September 2012
Choco Screech Owl, M. g. centralis
Photo by COLOMBIA Birding
Canopy Tower, Panama, September 2012

Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica to Colombia and Venezuela, and further down through Ecuador, Peru , and northern Bolivia

[edit] Taxonomy

This and almost all Screech Owls in the Americas have previously been considered to belong in the same genus (Otus) as the European and Asian Scops-Owls, but a reassignment to Megascops have been accepted by among other authorities, the American Ornithologists' Union.

[edit] Subspecies

Roraima Screech-Owl, M. g. roraimaePhoto by Andy AdcockLa Escalera, Venezuela, January 2016
Roraima Screech-Owl, M. g. roraimae
Photo by Andy Adcock
La Escalera, Venezuela, January 2016

Clements recognizes 13 subspecies in five groups[1]:

  • Guatemala Screech Owl
    • M. g. tomlini in northwest Mexico (southeast Sonora and southwest Chihuahua to Sinaloa)
    • M. g. hastatus in western Mexico (southwest Sinaloa to Oaxaca)
    • M. g. cassini in eastern Mexico (southern Tamaulipas and northern Veracruz)
    • M. g. fuscus in the mountains of eastern Mexico (central Veracruz)
    • M. g. thompsoni on Yucatán Peninsula and Cozumel Island
    • M. g. guatemalae in the mountains of southeast Mexico (southeast Veracruz and northeast Oaxaca) to Honduras
    • M. g. dacrysistactus in the mountains of Nicaragua
  • Vermiculated Screech Owl
  • Choco Screech Owl
  • Roraima Screech Owl
    • M. g. roraimae in Tepuis of southeast Venezuela and adjacent northern Brazil
  • Foothill Screech Owl

Gill and Donsker recognize every group as full species (although with different names: Middle American Screech Owl, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Choco Screech Owl, Roraima Screech Owl and Yungas Screech Owl (which is not even accepted as subspecies by Clements.). Dickinson has relumped the complex and accepts only 9 subspecies (hastatus, cassini, fuscus, thompsoni, guatemalae, dacrysistactus, vermiculatus, roraimae and napensis). centralis is considered by some as a synonym of vermiculatus and therefore not a valid subspecies[2].

[edit] Habitat

Lowlands and foothills to between 1200 m and 1800 m including sides of Tepuis, in humid dense forest often with many epiphytes.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes. as well as insects, most likely small vertebrates too.

[edit] Breeding

They nest in tree cavities or old nest holes of other bird. The clutch consists of 2-3 eggs which are laid during March and April.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from
  2. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.3). Available at
  4. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2014. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0956861122

[edit] External Links


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