Until recently, many authorities considered the Colombian Screech-Owl (Megascops colombianus) to be a subspecies of the Rufescent Screech-Owl. Furthermore, some authors have even regarded the smaller and more rufous-colored Cinnamon Screech-Owl (Megascops petersoni) as conspecific with the present species, although their voices and plumage both differ. The Rufescent Screech-Owl is one of the more wide-ranging Andean species of Megascops, it ranging from northwest Venezuela south to northern Colombia, before reappearing in northeast Ecuador, whence it occurs south to west-central Bolivia. Nonetheless, it is generally uncommon and not easily encountered. The distinctive white markings on the scapulars are present in both the brown and rufous morphs; the bird’s plumage is otherwise rather uniform, with large brown eyes and only vestigial ear-tufts.