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Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum


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Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, on branch
credit: Pato Garza/CCSA

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Family: Strigidae, Owls view all from this family

Description ADULT Has reddish brown upperparts and tail, with delicate pale streaks on head and nape, and spots on back and wings. Note the false "eyes" on the nape. Underparts are pale with bold rufous streaks. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but streaks and spots on upperparts are much less distinct.

Dimensions Length: 6 1/2-7" (17-18 cm)

Endangered Status The Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, a subspecies of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Arizona. Destruction of its habitat, by residential and industrial development, farming practices, livestock grazing, wood cutting, and other human practices, has been the greatest threat to this species. Surveys in recent years counted only three of these owls in Arizona. Greater numbers are found in Texas and Mexico.

Habitat A mainly Central and South American species whose resident range extends to southern Arizona and southern Texas. Favors desert scrub and riverside woodland.

Observation Tips Listen for the distinctive call.

Range Southwest, Texas

Voice Male's typical territorial song is a rapid series of pu-pu-pu piping notes, recalling a frog or perhaps a smoke alarm.

Discussion Small and relatively long-tailed owl with rufous plumage overall. Mainly active during daylight hours.