Least Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium minutissimum)

Least Pygmy Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium minutissimum | [authority] Wied, 1821 | [UK] Least Pygmy Owl | [FR] Chevechette caboure | [DE] Zwergkauz | [ES] Mochuelo Minimo | [NL] Kleinste 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 and nape dusky cinnamon-brown with whitish to buffy-white spots extending back to the nape; back rufous-brown. 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 to dark cinnamon-brown.

Listen to the sound of Least Pygmy Owl

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

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 15 cm
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South America : East, Southeast. It is uncommon to locally fairly common, and in southeast Brazil it appears commonest at foothill elevations of 500-800 m


This species occurs in tropical humid evergreen forest (rain forest) and edge from sea level to 1000 m elevation and seems intolerant of secondary forests


Nests in tree cavity and old Woodpecker nests.

Feeding habits

It hunts for its prey of insects, lizards and small birds by perching and then pouncing. It is active during both day and night.

Video Least 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.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
Least Pygmy Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Least Pygmy Owl distribution range map

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