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Aegolius ridgwayi

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl

  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Polytypic 3 Subspecies

Authors: Enríquez, Paula L., M. C. Arizmendi, C. Rodríguez-Flores, and C. Soberanes-González


Conservation status

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl is listed as in peril of extinction in the Mexican Official Norm (SEMARNAT 2010) because of the lack of ecological information about this species, its restricted distribution, and the high rates of deforestation within its range. However, BirdLife International (2011) describes the population of this species as stable and assess its global conservation status as Least Concern. Parker et al. (1996) considered the species of medium sensitivity. 

All members of Strigidae are listed in the CITES appendices; species of owl that are not regarded as globally threatened, as is the case with Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, are listed on CITES Appendix II.

Effects of human activity on populations

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl is restricted to humid mountain forests (pine-oak and cloud), which have been considered one of the ecosystems with high priorities of conservation because they have high rates of deforestation. Some sources estimate the extent of reduction of montane forest at 40% in the last few decades, for agriculture, and timber (Challenger 1998). Deforestation levels vary in intensity and frequency with land use history, environmental attributes and the socio-economic level at each site or location (Ochoa-Gaona 2001). Traditional use of the forest, for instance, has a high frequency of perturbation but moderate intensity (Barrón-Sevilla 2002). Human activities such as agriculture, selective extraction of wood for firewood and coal, extraction of bromeliads, soil and plants, the increase the pasture and graze for sheep, unplanned urban growth, uncontrolled use of fire, and banks of sand and rocks have affected the habitat of this species (Enríquez and Rangel-Salazar 2009). Currently, cloud and humid pine-oak forests in good condition are restricted to high slopes or high mountains of difficult access. 

Recommended Citation

Enríquez, Paula L., M. C. Arizmendi, C. Rodríguez-Flores, and C. Soberanes-González. 2012. Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius ridgwayi), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: