Puerto Rican Screech Owl (Megascops nudipes)

Puerto Rican Screech Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Megascops nudipes | [authority] Daudin, 1800 | [UK] Puerto Rican Screech Owl | [FR] Petit duc de Porto Rico | [DE] Nacktfuss-Eule | [ES] Autillo Puertorriqueno | [NL] Puertoricaanse Schreeuwuil


Monotypic species


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

Puerto Rican Screech Owls shows a greyish-brown and rufescent morph. The facial disk is indistinct, the eyes are brownish and the beak greenish-yellow. It has no ear tufts. The eyebrows are lighter than the rest of their face. Upperparts are spotted, slightly barred and streaked darker. Underparts are lighter then upperparts, becoming whiter towards the belly with dark shaft-streaks and cross-bars on feathers. The upperbreast has many brown markings. Flight and tail feathers are barred dark and light. Only the upperpart of the legs is feathered.

Listen to the sound of Puerto Rican Screech Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Puerto Rican Screech Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America : Puerto Rico


Woodlands and thickets, ranging from the rainforest in El Yunque National Forest to the dry forest at Guanica.


Nest is placed in crevices, caves, old woodpecker holes and cavities in trees. Clutch size is 1-4 which are incubated by the female.

Feeding habits

These owls eat mainly insects and occasionally small mammals. Nocturnal hunter

Video Puerto Rican Screech Owl


copyright: J. Gonzalez y F. Collazo


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.
Puerto Rican Screech Owl status Least Concern


Resident and sedentary, young show some dispersal.

Distribution map

Puerto Rican Screech Owl distribution range map

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