Members of the genus Xenoglaux are tiny owls. They have whiskers around the beak that reach beyond the facial disc, and have the appearance of a fan. They have prominent off-white eyebrows above light orange-brown eyes. Their overall colour is brown with some darker mottling and a white throat. The legs and feet are flesh-coloured. The genus contains but one species restricted to a small area of northern Peru .
The wing length is around 100mm, the tail a little over 50mm, and the bird’s weight is between 45g and 50g.
Listen to the sound of Long-whiskered Owlet
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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The Long-whiskered Owlet stunned scientists when it was discovered by a team from Louisiana State University in 1976. This bizarre, tiny owl is unlike any other known species, with extremely long facial “whiskers”, stubby wings, and a short tail. Until recently, this species was known only from specimens obtained from mist nets, and there is still very little information on its behavior and ecology. It may be nearly flightless, and is very difficult to locate in its dense cloud forest habitat. It is known only from a few sites in the area of Abra Patricia in northern Peru, and habitat degradation threatens its survival. It is probably most likely to be detected at night by its repeated descending hoot. It is not uncommon within its distribution area, although with such a limited range, it could well be among the rarest owls in the world. It may be at risk from deforestation, and is listed by Birdlife International as Near-threatened.