Distribution in the Americas
Balsas Screech-Owl is a resident endemic to southwestern Mexico. It occurs in the interior, especially in the basin of the Balsas River, in southern Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, central Guerrero, and southern Morelos (Friedmann et al. 1950, Howell and Webb 1995, Alba-Zúñiga et al. 2009).
The elevational range of Balsas Screech-Owl is 600-1500 m (Howell and Webb 1995).
Balsas Screech-Owl occurs in arid open and semi-open areas: tropical dry deciduous woodland with giant cordon cactus, mesquite, thorn forest, tall cactus, and second growth (Howell and Webb 1995, Chávez-León and Finch 1999, Konig and Weick 2008). It has also been associated with arid tropical scrub and the edges of croplands (Enríquez-Rocha et al. 1993).
A study of Balsas Screech-Owl in the Sierra de Huautla Biosphere Reserve, Morelos, Mexico found them in all five studied vegetation types: conserved dry forest, perturbed dry forest, thorn forest, areas under agricultural cultivation, and Gliricidia sepium-Caesalpina pulcherrima forest (an agroforestry system). The first four vegetation types were used in proportion to their availability, but the last type was used significantly less than its availability. There were significant differences in the number of owls recorded in different vegetation types with the highest numbers in conserved dry forest, followed by thorn forest, perturbed forest, agriculture systems, and Gliricidia-Caesalpina forest (Alba-Zúñiga et al. 2009).