Whiskered Screech Owl (Megascops trichopsis)

Whiskered Screech Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Megascops trichopsis | [authority] Wagler, 1832 | [UK] Whiskered Screech Owl | [FR] Petit duc a favoris | [DE] Fleckeneule | [ES] Autillo Bigotudo | [NL] Gevlekte Schreeuwuil

Subspecies

Monotypic species

Genus

The genus Megascops comprises 22 living species are known at present, but new ones are frequently recognized and unknown ones are still being discovered on a regular basis, especially in the Andes. For most of the 20th century, this genus was merged with the Old World scops-owls in Otus, but nowadays it is again considered separate based on a range of behavioral, biogeographical, morphological and DNA sequence data. Screech-owls are restricted to the Americas. Some species formerly placed with them are nowadays considered more distinct.
As usual for owls, female screech-owls are usually larger and fatter than the males of their species, with owls of both sexes being compact in size, shape, and height. The Eastern Screech-owl Megascops asio is one of the smallest species of owls in North America. All of the birds in this genus are small and agile. Screech-owls are generally colored in various brownish hues with usually a whitish, patterned underside, which helps to camouflage them against the bark of trees. Some are polymorphic, occurring in a grayish- and a reddish-brown morph.

Physical charateristics

Adults occur in 2 color morphs, in either brown or dark grey plumage. They have a round head with ear tufts, yellow eyes and a yellowish bill. The bird looks very similar to a Western Screech-Owl, but has heavier barring on the breast, and is slightly smaller in size.

Listen to the sound of Whiskered Screech Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Whiskered Screech Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto


wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
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Range

North America, Middle America : Southeast Arizona to Northcentral Nicaragua

Habitat

Their breeding habitat is dense coniferous or oak woodlands, and coffee plantations usually occurring at higher elevations than Western Screech-Owl.

Reproduction

3 to 4 eggs are usually laid in April or May, usually found in a tree cavity or old woodpecker hole 5 to 7 meters above the ground.

Feeding habits

These birds wait on a perch and swoop down on prey; they also capture targeted food items in flight. They mainly eat small mammals and large insects, with grasshoppers, beetles, moths making up a large portion of their diet.

Video Whiskered Screech Owl

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddXUYHfCnBE

copyright: Thinkquest


Conservation

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Whiskered Screech Owl status Least Concern

Migration

Mostly resident, may show some elevation migration during winter.

Distribution map

Whiskered Screech Owl distribution range map

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