Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi)

Long-whiskered Owlet

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Xenoglaux loweryi | [authority] ONeill and Graves, 1977 | [UK] Long-whiskered Owlet | [FR] Chevechette nimbee | [DE] Peruanerkauz | [ES] Mochuelo Peludo | [NL] Snorrebaarduil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Xenoglaux are tiny owls. They have whiskers around the beak that reach beyond the facial disc, and have the appearance of a fan. They have prominent off-white eyebrows above light orange-brown eyes. Their overall colour is brown with some darker mottling and a white throat. The legs and feet are flesh-coloured. The genus contains but one species restricted to a small area of northern Peru .

Physical charateristics

The adult Long-whiskered Owlet has an indistinct brown facial disc with whiskers projecting around the sides, and white eyebrows. The upper parts are brown with small darker mottling. The lower nape has a collar of large white spots. The flight feathers are deep grey to black with white markings. The tail is brown with lighter and darker mottling. The under parts are similar, but with white markings, becoming more pronounced towards the belly. The legs and toes are unfeathered. The eyes are orange-brown, the cere pinkish-grey and the bill green-grey with a yellowish tip. The toes are flesh pink and the talons horn with darker tips.
The wing length is around 100mm, the tail a little over 50mm, and the bird’s weight is between 45g and 50g.

Listen to the sound of Long-whiskered Owlet

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Long-whiskered Owlet.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 14 cm
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South America : North Peru


It apparently inhabits the understorey and mid-storey of very wet elfin forest and tall forest at 1890-2350 m (but potentially heard down to 1800 m), with abundant epiphytes, bamboo thickets and scattered palms and tree ferns. If local reports of the species in elfin forest at Wichim are confirmed it also occurs below 1200 m. It is conjectured that the species could be almost flightless.


No data

Feeding habits

It probably feeds on insects.


This species’s known range is extremely small and it would qualify as Critically Endangered if it were not currently known from two locations. Habitat is declining rapidly at one site and, to a lesser extent, at the other. It therefore qualifies as Endangered, but remains poorly known, and further records or research may lead to reassessment of its status.
The Long-whiskered Owlet stunned scientists when it was discovered by a team from Louisiana State University in 1976. This bizarre, tiny owl is unlike any other known species, with extremely long facial “whiskers”, stubby wings, and a short tail. Until recently, this species was known only from specimens obtained from mist nets, and there is still very little information on its behavior and ecology. It may be nearly flightless, and is very difficult to locate in its dense cloud forest habitat. It is known only from a few sites in the area of Abra Patricia in northern Peru, and habitat degradation threatens its survival. It is probably most likely to be detected at night by its repeated descending hoot. It is not uncommon within its distribution area, although with such a limited range, it could well be among the rarest owls in the world. It may be at risk from deforestation, and is listed by Birdlife International as Near-threatened.
Long-whiskered Owlet status Endangered


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Long-whiskered Owlet distribution range map

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