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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

Aegolius ridgwayi

Volcán de Agua, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala; 18 December 2012 © Knut Eisermann

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl is a small nocturnal raptor species. It is a Middle American endemic, restricted to high-elevation humid pine-oak forest from Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala south, locally, northern Panama. It inhabits humid pine-oak and cloud forests. Unspotted Saw-whet Owl feeds small vertebrates such as rodents, small birds, and bats.

Like most other species of owl, it most often is detected by voice. Though its call is very similar to its sister species, Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus), the distributions of the two species do not overlap, as they are separated by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. By plumage Unspotted Saw-whet Owl is distinctive, being plain below, though with the typical saw-whet owl facial markings. 

Knowledge of the natural history of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl is very limited; very little is known about its abundance, habitat use and population trends. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists this species Least Concern (Lc), although in Mexico recently it has been listed as in peril of extinction (SEMARNAT 2010). This conservation status was determined because it is an endemic and restricted distribution species, because there is little ecological and biological knowledge about it, and because the montane habitats for Unspotted Saw-whet Owl have been severely fragmented.

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:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Understory
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Mammals
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:---
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern