Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum

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

Priorities for Future Research

Since most conservation action is required in the north part of its range, future research must be centered around Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls in Arizona, Texas and north Mexico to further understand the factors involved in the declining levels of those populations. Research is also needed in Central and South America since, although populations there are not as threatened, data are more lacking overall. The following are challenges that need to be addressed:

(i) Understanding the past: More research is needed to better understand the histories of populations in Texas and Arizona. Such information would be helpful to understanding the trajectory of population shrinking in the last century and more accurately project the current rate.

(ii) Long-term life history studies: Research is needed to understand the long-term life histories of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls. Survivorship, reproductive success, and life span are fairly unknown. Advancements in this direction would help illuminate population dynamics.

(iii) Assessing the stability of populations: Particularly in Texas and Arizona, more work is needed to understand the stability of owl populations. A better understanding of current population densities, viability, gene flow and future threats is essential to the future effectiveness of conservation efforts.

(iv) Competition: More studies are needed to determine whether competition for food with other owls, particularly the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) and screech-owls (Megascops spp.), is a threat to Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl now or could become one in the future.

(v) Corridors: More research is needed to determine the extent to which the U.S.-Mexico border fence damages local wildlife viability. The idea of building wildlife corridors across the border should be explored to improve population and gene flow.

(vi) Parasitism: More research is needed on the ways in which known microbiological parasites affect the health of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Research is generally lacking in this area, and future efforts may uncover additional parasites.

(vii) Taxonomic studies: Further work on the systemics of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is needed to help define differences in taxonomic classification which may have ecological implications, like differences in diet, habitat use, and resource needs. Such information will provide a better understanding of the specific requirements of owls across different taxa and geographies.

(vii) Constant monitoring: Populations of Glaucidium brasilianum should be monitored throughout its range, but particularly in Arizona, Texas and Mexico, to document and quickly react to changes in population dynamics which may be critical to future viability.

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