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Foothill Screech-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Roraima Screech-Owl, M. g. roraimae
Photo © by Andy Adcock
La Escalera, Venezuela, January 2016

Includes: Roraima Screech-Owl; Rio Napo Screech-Owl

Megascops roraimae


20-23 cm.
A relatively dark and coarsely patterned species.


This species has two somewhat distinct areas that it occupies. One is the tepuis of the southern Venezuela to neighboring Brazil and the Guianas. The other is mostly on the eastern side of the Andes from Venezuela through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, to Bolivia.


Foothill Screech-Owl was split from Middle American Screech-Owl and Choco Screech-Owl; when they were together, they were known as Vermiculated Screech-Owl.

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 all main world authorities.


Five subspecies are recognized[1].

  • M. r. roraimae - tepuis of southern Venezuela, adjacent northern Brazil, southern Guyana, and Suriname
  • M. r. napensis - Andean foothills of Venezuela, eastern Colombia and eastern Ecuador
  • M. r. pallidus - coastal mountains of northern Venezuela
  • M. r. helleri - Tropical eastern Peru
  • M. r. bolivianus - Tropical northern Bolivia (Cochabamba)


Wet forests mainly at 1000- 1800 m asl, but in some areas considerably lower (500-800 m).


Uncertain. Seems to prefer insects and other animals of a small size.


A relatively high pitch trill with about 50 elements given during a 5-8 second burst


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. König, C. and F. Weick (2008). Owls of the world, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 9780713665482

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