Long-tufted Screech-Owl Megascops sanctaecatarinae

  • © H├ęctor Bottai

In many respects an inadequately known species, the Long-tufted Screech-Owl is clearly closely related to the morphologically similar Black-capped Screech-Owl (Megascops atricapilla), although it is reportedly larger, bulkier and has more powerful talons than the latter, as well as having longer ear tufts. It is of principally more austral distribution than the Black-capped Screech-Owl, although there is considered to be extensive overlap between them, with the present species occurring from Santa Catarina, Brazil, south to Uruguay and northeasternmost Argentina. Three colour morphs have been reported in the literature, brown, grey, and red, of which the first-named is considered to be the commonest. Two song-types are known, a guttural, rapid trill lasting 6–8 seconds, starting very faintly, increasing in volume and ending abruptly, and, secondly, a reverse ‘bouncing-ball’ phrase that is given as a male-female duet. Long-tufted Screech-Owl inhabits semi-open forested areas, as well as adjacent farmland, and is found at elevations from approximately 300 m to 1000 m. Typically nocturnal, it feeds on a variety of insectivorous prey, as well as small vertebrates. Its breeding ecology is presumably similar to those of other Megascops, but remains to be properly elucidated.

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© Ted Parker

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

Recommended Citation

Long-tufted Screech-Owl (Megascops sanctaecatarinae), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/lotsco1