Central American Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium griseiceps)

Central American Pygmy Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium griseiceps | [authority] Sharpe, 1875 | [UK] Central American Pygmy Owl | [FR] Chevechette a tete grise | [DE] Graukopf-Zwergkauz | [ES] Mochuelo Centroamericano | [NL] Centraal-Amerikaanse 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

Crown, nape, and upperparts rich olivaceous-brown to rufous-brown with a grayer wash to the head and whitish to buffy-white spotting on the crown and nape. Bars on the closed wings are formed by pale cinnamon spots on the outer webs of the primaries and secondaries. Tail with five white to buffy-white bars. Chest sides and underpart streaks rufous-brown. Female is about 10% larger.

Listen to the sound of Central American Pygmy Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Central American Pygmy Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


Middle America : South Mexico to Panama. found in northern South America and northern Brazil, in the center of the Amazon Basin, and in Venezuela and the Guianas. In the southwest of the basin bordering the Andes cordillera, the species is found in Peru, and Bolivia. In the Guyanas, the range is bifurcated, as the species is not found in the middle country of Suriname.


It inhabits tropical humid evergreen forest (rain forest) and forest edge from near sea level to 1300 m elevation


Nests in tree cavity and old Woodpecker nests. Clutch size 2-4 eggs.

Feeding habits

This owl often hunts diurnal. Diet consists of large insects, small reptiles, birds and mammals.

Video Central American Pygmy Owl


copyright: Panabirds


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 may be moderately small to large, 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.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
Central American Pygmy Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Central American Pygmy Owl distribution range map

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