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.
and a rather long barred tail. Frequently heard calling or seen flying in daytime. The spotted head is proportionately smaller than that of a Saw-whet or Screech-Owl. Tail often held at a perky angle.
Listen to the sound of Mountain Pygmy Owl
[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Mountain Pygmy Owl.mp3]
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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Found in a wide variety of forest types, including open oak groves, sycamores in canyons, pine-oak woodland, coniferous forest of far north and high mountains. Generally in partly open habitats rather than solid unbroken forest.
season, pairs defend very large nesting territories. Courtship displays at dusk may involve rapid aerial chases through the trees near potential nest sites. In courtship on perch, male feeds female.
Nest: Site is in cavity in tree, either in natural hollow or (perhaps more often) in abandoned woodpecker hole, and usually 8 -25′ above ground. No nest built, eggs laid in bottom of cavity.
Clutch 3 -4, sometimes 2 -7. White. Incubation apparently is by female only, about 28 days.
Young: Both parents take part in providing food for young, with male bringing much of prey, female feeding it to young. Female may roost in nest hole with young at first. Age of young at first flight about 27-28 days.
s such as voles and mice are often major prey, also catches mammals as large as gophers and squirrels. During warm weather, eats many large insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, beetles. Small songbirds are sometimes up to one third of diet. In
southern parts of range, may catch many lizards.
Behavior: Hunts most actively near dawn and dusk, but also at other times. Watches for prey from a perch, then makes very rapid pursuit flight.