Austral Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium nana)

Austral Pygmy Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium nana | [authority] King, 1827 | [UK] Austral Pygmy Owl | [FR] Chevechette australe | [DE] Araukanerkauz | [ES] Mochuelo Patagon | [NL] Magelhaendwerguil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Glaucidium nana SA Southern Cone


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

Brown, Grey, and Rufous morphs known (not all sources differentiate grey from brown). In all forms, this species has relatively small eyes and long tail with relatively many pale bars; birds from some areas have wider pale than dark bars. It has a dark dorsum and heavy markings on the underparts and also heavy spotting on the breast sides and rufous tail barring. Rufous-brown upperparts and often more than eight rufous tail bands It has numerous white spots on the wing coverts and narrow tail bands.

Listen to the sound of Austral Pygmy Owl

[audio: Pygmy Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 17 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 28 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


South America : Southern Cone


Warm desert areas, open woodland, temeprate forest and thorn scrubs. Will also enter parks and city gardens.


Nests in tree trunks, cavities, rodent burrows or even buidlings. May reuse nest for several years, allthough uncertain if this concerns same pair. Clutch size 3-5 eggs which are incubated for about 27 days.

Feeding habits

Diet consists mainly of small birds. Also mammals, reptiles and insects. It hunts at night and a daytime.

Video Austral Pygmy Owl


copyright: Ron Hoff


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern
Austral Pygmy Owl status Least Concern


Partial migrant. Southern most populations migrate North in late autumn to Northern Argentina (Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Tucuman) and Northern Chile; population in Chile’s southernmost Magallanes region remains resident

Distribution map

Austral Pygmy Owl distribution range map

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