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Whiskered Screech-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Michael W
Photo taken: Sycamore Canyon, Arizona, USA
Megascops trichopsis

Otus trichopsis


Small owl (body 15-18cm., wingspan 40-46cm.)
Occurs in a grey and a red morph (red morph absent in the northernmost subspecies, aspergus). A grey morph bird has body that is gray and brown with heavy streaking all over. Bill pale yellowish-green. Yellow eyes (with black pupils; the red pupils in the photo are a result of flash reflection). Small ear tufts.


Arizona, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.


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.

Three subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • M. t. aspersus
  • M. t. trichopsis
  • M. t. mesamericanus


Open woods near edges of forest in mountainous terrain from 1200m. - 1800m. (4000' - 6000') elevation.


The diet includes insects, spiders and caterpillars, and small vertebrates foraged between branches.

It uses a natural hollow for nesting. 3-4 eggs are laid and incubated by the female alone, during which time the male brings food. The female remains with the young and joins the nightly forage as they become older.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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

[1]Whiskered Screech-Owl in Owlpages.com