Albertine Owlet (Glaucidium albertinum)

Albertine Owlet

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium albertinum | [authority] Prigogine, 1983 | [UK] Albertine Owlet | [FR] Chevechette d’Albert | [DE] Albertseekauz | [ES] Mochuelo del Alberto | [NL] Prigogine’s Dwerguil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Glaucidium are very small and tiny owls. They have rounded heads without ear-tufts. Their eyes are yellow. In many species the talons are, in relation to their size, very powerful. The facial disc is not very distinct. Some species have a large dark patch with a pale border on each side of the nape of the neck, looking like false eyes. Many are partly diurnal and sing from exposed perches. These are mostly very tenacious in the hunt, and show little fear, even of approaching humans. Glaucidium is a worldwide genus, containing some 30 species. Most of the Asian species, and some of the African species show physical and behavioural differences that suggest they might be better placed in Athene, and DNA evidence suggests that there is only a distant relationship between the Old World Pygmy Owls and those of the New World.

Physical charateristics

Small, large-headed owl with no “ears”. Rounded head heavily spotted with white. Mantle/back not barred. Barred breast. Spotted belly and flanks. Pale yellow eyes. Similar spp. African Barred Owlet G. capense is less intensely coloured, with barred head and mantle/back.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Africa : Northeast Congo, North Rwanda.


This bird is found in very open montane and transitional forest, with many clearings and a dense understorey, and probably occurs up to 2500 m at least (based on a Glaucidium sp. heard calling at this altitude at Nyungwe, almost certainly G. albertinum). Its breeding ecology is unknown.


No data

Feeding habits

The diet includes invertebrates like grasshoppers and beetles.


This species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a very small population (being known from only four widely separated locations) that is severely fragmented and probably declining, given the continuing clearance and degradation of its forest habitat.
Glaucidium albertinum is known from just 3-5 specimens, collected in the Itombwe Mountains (two specimens) and in forest west of Lake Edward (two at relatively low altitude 1100 m and originally identified as G. capense castaneum, may need re-examination), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as in Nyungwe Forest (one), Rwanda. There is also a recent sight record from Kahuzi-Biega National Park, west of Lake Kivu (DRC). It may be fairly common in parts of Itombwe – as a nocturnal species, it may have been under-recorded by past ornithological surveys.
Albertine Owlet status Vulnerable


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Albertine Owlet distribution range map

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