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Puerto Rican Screech-Owl Megascops nudipes

  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Chloe Goodson


Geographic Variation

Two subspecies recognized:

nudipes, described as Strix nudipes (Daudin 1800); type locality Puerto Rico

Occurs throughout Puerto Rico.

See Detailed Description.

newtoni, described as Gymnoglaux Newtoni (Lawrence 1860); type locality St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Similar to nominate nudipes, but "color of upper parts lighter and more grayish brown and under parts more sparsely and less heavily streaked and vermiculated" (Ridgway 1914). This taxon may not be valid, "as the name was assigned based on only slight plumage color differences" (Moreno 1998).

Formerly occurred in the Virgin Islands (Ridgway 1914, Raffaele 1989); probably now extinct (Moreno 1998; see Distribution).  One record from Vieques, where probably now extinct. Possibly also occurs on Culebra (Raffaele 1989).

Related Species

Phylogenetic relationships within the genus Megascops remain poorly known. The few studies published to date include only a small number of species of Megascops, and have not included nudipes (e.g. Wink et al. 2008). König and Weick (2008) consider the territorial song (A-song) of Megascops guatemalae (Vermiculated Screech-Owl) to be similar to that of nudipes, but it is not clear if they mean to imply a phylogenetic relationship between these two species.

Recommended Citation

Goodson, C. (2014). Puerto Rican Screech-Owl (Megascops nudipes), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.