Cuban Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium siju)

Cuban Pygmy Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium siju | [authority] dOrbigny, 1839 | [UK] Cuban Pygmy Owl | [FR] Chevechette siiju | [DE] Kubakauz | [ES] Mochuelo Siju | [NL] Cubaanse 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

Upperparts are brown with whitish bars, these bars extending to the short tail. It has a tawny collar and two dark “false-eye” spots on the back of the neck as you can see in the second photo. Underparts are whitish with brown streaks. The eyes are yellow and the legs are feathered.

Listen to the sound of Cuban Pygmy Owl

[audio: Pygmy Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 16 cm size max.: 17 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America : Cuba


Cuban Pygmy-Owl is the commonest and most frequently observed of Cuba’s owls. It inhabits most areas of semi-open woodland, and occurs in two morphs, a grey-brown and a red morph, of which the former is much the commoner


Cuban Pygmy-Owls breed in tree holes formerly used by woodpeckers, and the 3-4 eggs are incubated by the female alone, although few other details have been published to date.

Feeding habits

It hunts during both the day and the night. Prey consists of insects, lizards and small birds.

Video Cuban Pygmy Owl


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


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.
Cuban Pygmy Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Cuban Pygmy Owl distribution range map

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