Tropical Screech-Owl Megascops choliba

  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Authors: Ong, Gaelyn

The Tropical Screech-Owl is the most common and widespread screech-owl of the neotropicis.  This species is found from Costa Rica south through much of lowland South America, and also is present on Trinidad.  The Tropical Screech-Owl is one of the most successful and adaptable species of screech-owl in South America, but little is known about its natural history.

This species is characterized by its ear tufts, light gray facial disk outlined in black and a distinct pattern of dusky, herringbone streaks on the underparts.  This species, which formerly was known as Otus choliba, has nine recognized subspecies. Most Tropical Screech-Owls are gray-brown in color; brown and red morphs also occur, although the red morph is rare.


© Juan Pablo Culasso

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-breeding

Recommended Citation

Ong, Gaelyn. (2011). Tropical Screech-Owl (Megascops choliba), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: