• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Black-capped Screech-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Variable Screech-Owl

Photo by Alexandretf
Location: Peruibe - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Megascops atricapilla

Otus atricapilla


23 cm: a medium Screech-Owl
Found in dark, grey, and red color morphs, all with dark to blackish crown. All over it is finely vermiculated. Upperside darker than underside, with vent area palest. Eyes often dark brownish but may be amber or yellow to golden.

Similar species

Black-capped Screech Owl is smaller but has tufts as long as Long-tufted Screech-Owl. Ranges of these two species are adjacent (parapatric). Black-capped Screech-Owl is more finely patterned, not so coarse dark blotches.


South-eastern Brazil, Paraguay, and very northernmost Argentina; north of Long-tufted Screech-Owl.


This is a monotypic species1.

Long-tufted Screech-Owl was previously included under this species.

This and almost all Screech-Owls in the Americas have previously been considered to belong in the same genus (Otus) as the European and Asian Scops-Owls, but a reassignment to Megascops have been accepted by among other authorities, the American Ornithologists' Union.


Forests, mostly interior of extensive primary or secondary rainforests, but sometimes along edge. Not very tolerant of cold, occur where there are maximally 10 days of frost per year.


Nocturnal, spending the day in tight foliage or in tree cavities -- all breeding occur is such hollow trees. Described as tolerant to other members of its own species (even to the extent of two males singing in the same tree) and not shy.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.