Cinnamon Screech Owl (Megascops petersoni)

Cinnamon Screech Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Megascops petersoni | [authority] Fitzpatrick and ONeill, 1986 | [UK] Cinnamon Screech Owl | [FR] Petit-duc de Peterson | [DE] Zimt-Kreischeule | [ES] Autillo de Peterson | [NL] Kaneelkleurige Schreeuwuil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Megascops petersoni SA se Ecuador to nw Peru


The genus Megascops comprises 22 living species are known at present, but new ones are frequently recognized and unknown ones are still being discovered on a regular basis, especially in the Andes. For most of the 20th century, this genus was merged with the Old World scops-owls in Otus, but nowadays it is again considered separate based on a range of behavioral, biogeographical, morphological and DNA sequence data. Screech-owls are restricted to the Americas. Some species formerly placed with them are nowadays considered more distinct.
As usual for owls, female screech-owls are usually larger and fatter than the males of their species, with owls of both sexes being compact in size, shape, and height. The Eastern Screech-owl Megascops asio is one of the smallest species of owls in North America. All of the birds in this genus are small and agile. Screech-owls are generally colored in various brownish hues with usually a whitish, patterned underside, which helps to camouflage them against the bark of trees. Some are polymorphic, occurring in a grayish- and a reddish-brown morph.

Physical charateristics

A small Otus characterized by warm bully-brown plumage throughout, ear tufts of medium length, a narrow, huffy nuchal collar, nearly fully feathered tarsi, and dark brown irides. Strikingly similar in coloration to Otus ?irzgens? colombianu sbut much smaller (wing chord 153.0-165.5 mm versus 176.5-192.0 mm, Table l), distal half of tarsus sparsely feathered nearly to toes instead of bare, legs and toes of dried specimens proportionately shorter and more slender, ear tufts less pronounced, facial disc slightly darker with more conspicuous blackish edges, and breast less vermiculated. Breast and belly feathers less vermiculated, warm buffybrown rather than dark brown dorsal plumage, and by complete absence of white on any body or wing feathers, the palest color on peterson bieing a rich, warm buff. Best distinguished from 0. watsonii (red phase is most similar) by sparse rather than ample feathering on distal portion of tarsus, and by ear tufts of short to medium length and bully-brown instead of long, pointed, and blackish on most specimens of watsonii; also by generally warmer buff coloration, less conspicuous blackish edge of facial disc, and nasal and inter-orbital tufts pale buff, not blackish as in most watsonii.

Listen to the sound of Cinnamon Screech Owl

[audio: Screech Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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  


South America : Southeast Ecuador to Northwest Peru. Forested eastern foothills of the Andes from southern Ecuador (Cordillera de1 Cutucti) south to northern Peru in the departments of Piura (Playbn), Cajamarca (type locality), and Amazonas ( 12-20 km east of La Peca), at elevations between 1690 and 2450 m. Possibly the Andes of Colombia (?Bogota? trade skin).


Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montanes.


No data

Feeding habits

Insects and small vertebrates


Although this species may have a small range, it is not believed to 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.
Cinnamon Screech Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Cinnamon Screech Owl distribution range map

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