Whiskered Screech-Owl Megascops trichopsis

  • © Knut Eisermann

Whiskered Screech-Owl is a small (20 cm length), higher elevation species that ranges from southeastern Arizona to northern Nicaragua, usually inhabiting oak or oak-conifer woodland. As with most screech-owls, its plumage characteristics are of limited use for field identification. Both gray and brown morphs occur and the southern populations tend to be darker overall. Males are very slightly smaller than females. Note this species’ yellow eyes, yellow or greenish bill, prominent whiskers, and dainty feet that suggest its reliance on insects rather than small mammals. The most frequently heard song is a series of about eight soft toots delivered on a similar pitch or slowing slightly and becoming lower pitched toward the end. A Morse-code-like series of notes may also be heard—usually as a duet. Three or four round, white eggs are deposited in a cavity, often an unused woodpecker hole.

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© Curtis Marantz

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

Recommended Citation

Whiskered Screech-Owl (Megascops trichopsis), 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/whsowl1