Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum

  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Polytypic: 13 subspecies
  • Authors: Ray Larsen


Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls reproduce once annually, though they may nest a second time in the same season if the first attempt is unsuccessful (e.g. predation or disturbance occurs). Unpaired males observed in Texas and Arizona start broadcasting territorial/advertisement calls in February, and nesting commonly begins in April or May (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000) Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are cavity nesters (Flesch and Steidl 2010) and select their nest sites sometime between the commencement of territorial/advertisement calls and the onset of nesting (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000). Pairs commonly use three cavities in the same area: one for nesting, one for storing prey, and one as a roosting post for the male (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000). Cavities are either naturally occurring in trees, stumps and cacti, or excavations made by woodpeckers (Flesch and Steidl 2010). Eggs are generally between 7 and 9 gr, white and unmarked (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000). Clutches contain between 2 and 5 eggs, laid between 32 and 39 hours apart (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000). Incubation typically lasts 23-28 days and is performed solely by the female; the male occupies himself foraging for prey, feeding the female, and staking the territory (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000; Proudfoot and Beasom 1997). Birds are born blind and altricial, requiring constant parental care upon hatching for up to 8 days (Proudfoot and Johnson 2000).

Recommended Citation

Larsen, R. (2012). Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.fepowl.01