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Balsas Screech-Owl Megascops seductus

  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Sarah Egan


Geographic Variation

Megascops seductus is monotypic (König et al. 1999).

Related Species

Described as Otus vinaceus seductus Moore 1941; type locality "5 miles northeast of Apatzingan, Michoacan [Mexico], altitude 1000 feet [= 305 m]"

For many years the lowland populations of Megascops across North America, including most of Mexico, were combined into a single species, Megascops asio (e.g., Peters 1939, Miller and Miller 1951). Marshall (1967) identified four groups of taxa within this broad assemblage, which he considered to be "incipient species". These four groups now are recognized as separate species: Megascops asio (Eastern Screech-Owl); Megascops kennicottii (Western Screech-Owl); Megascops seductus; and Megascops cooperi (Pacific Screech-Owl).

Screech-owls formerly were classified in the genus Otus, but phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data reveals that New World and Old World Otus are not sister taxa (Wink and Heidrich 1999, Wink et al. 2008). The genus Otus now is restricted to Old World species (scops-owls), and most New World "Otus" are classified in Megascops. Phylogenetic relationships within Megascops remain poorly known. The few studies published to date include only a small number of species of Megascops, and have not included seductus (e.g. Wink and Heidrich 1999, Wink et al. 2008). Megascops seductus may form a superspecies with M. asio, M. kennicottii, and M. cooperi (Sibley and Monroe 1990).

Recommended Citation

Egan, S. (2014). Balsas Screech-Owl (Megascops seductus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.