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Rufescent Screech-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Baeza and Cosanga Road, Napo Province, Ecuador, January 2016

Includes Colombian Screech-Owl

Megascops ingens

Otus ingens


25-28 cm: relatively large with short ear tufts. Occurs in rufous, more olive, or greyish-brown morphs.
Description of a brown morph bird: it has whitish hind-crown, brown tones, fine cross hatched streaks on the breast, brown eyes and green-gray bill.


Subspecies colombianus
Photo © by Steve Blain
Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Ecuador, March 2005

Subspecies colombianus is smaller, 20-23 cm. It is mainly found in a rufous morph and has bold marks on the underside.


Colombia to Venezuela as well as to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.


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.


There are three [1]:

  • M. i. colombianus - west slope of Andes of Colombia to northwest Ecuador
  • M. i. venezuelanus - Andes of northern Colombia to northwest Venezuela
  • M. i. ingens (synonym minimus) - Andes of northern Ecuador to Peru and west-central Bolivia

Subspecies colombianus was for a while split out as a full species, Colombian Screech-Owl, but has now been placed back into Rufescent Screech-Owl.


Humid mountain forest from 1200-2500 m asl


This is a resident species. Spends day roosting, becoming active at dusk.

The most well known song is a series of about 50 'ut' notes, initially given soft but then accelerating.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdforum thread with description of this species
  3. 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

Search for the colombianus form