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Tropical Screech-Owl - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by Ciro Albano
Chapada do Araripe, Ceará, Brazil
Megascops choliba

Otus choliba


Photo © by Aracari
Campinas, Brazil, 8 December 2007


  • Short ear tufts
  • Yellow eyes
  • Light grey, black edged facial disk
  • Heavily streaked upper-parts and under-parts marked with herring bone pattern
  • Grey, brown and red colour morphs occur with intermediates.


From Costa Rica through the northern half of South America including Trinidad but not found west of the Andes.


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.


Nine subspecies are recognized:

  • M. c. luctisonus:
  • M. c. margaritae:
  • M. c. duidae:
  • M. c. cruciger (montanus, kelsoi, alticola, caucae):
  • M. c. surutus:
  • M. c. decussatus (caatingensis):
  • South-central and eastern Brazil
  • M. c. choliba (chapadensis):
  • Southern Brazil (southern Mato Grosso and São Paulo) to eastern Paraguay
  • M. c. wetmorei (alilucoco):
  • M. c. uruguaii:


Savanna, open forest, plantations, parks, clearings. Mainly in lowland, can be found somewhat high as long as local weather is warm.



The diet includes insects and other invertebrates, occasionally snakes and small mammals.


The clutch of 1-4 eggs are laid in a tree cavity. There has been one report of a pair using a nest built by a Guira Cuckoo.


  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. Word Owl Trust
  3. Ornithologia Neotropical

Recommended Citation

External Links

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