The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)
Is a small owl that breeds in south-central Arizona in the USA, south through to Mexico, Central America and South America to Bolivia and Argentina. Trinidad, as well as other localities, have endemic subspecies of this owl. Recent genetics work has found substantial differences in Ferruginous Pygmy Owls from different regions, and members of the northern ridgwayi group are sometimes considered a separate species, the Ridgeway’s Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium ridgwayi).This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, the family that contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae. In the southern portion of its range, the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl is generally a common bird found in a wide range of semi-open wooded habitats.
The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl is small, typically 15 cm (6 in), and stocky with disproportionately large talons. The crown has elongated white/buff spots or streaks, the wing coverts have white spots, and the underparts are heavily streaked white. There are prominent white supercilia above the facial disc. There are two eye spots on the nape. Otherwise, its overall color is highly variable, ranging from grey-brown with a black-and-white barred tail to rich rufous with a uniform rufous tail. Sexes are similar with females slightly larger and often more reddish. The flight is low to the ground and rapid with long swoops. This species is crepuscular, but often hunts by day. It can be readily located by the small birds that mob it while it is perched in a tree (up to 40 birds of 11 species have been recorded mobbing one owl). It hunts a variety of birds, lizards, mammals, and insects.
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