Rufous-banded Owl (Strix albitarsis)

Rufous-banded Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Strix albitarsis | [authority] Bonaparte, 1850 | [UK] Rufous-banded Owl | [FR] Chouette fasciee | [DE] Rotelkauz | [ES] Carabo Patiblanco | [NL] Witbroekbosuil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Strix are the wood owls. They are medium to large owls, having a large, rounded head and no ear-tufts. The comparatively large eyes range from yellow through to dark brown. Colouring is generally designed fro camouflage in woodland, and a number of the member of this genus have colour phases. There are 20 species scattered practically throughout the globe with the exception of Australasia, the South Pacific and Madagascar, where the genus Ninox takes its place. There being no clear generic differences between Strix and Ciccaba genera, and DNA evidence suggesting very close relationships, many authorities now merge the latter into the former.

Physical charateristics

Medium size owl, 30-35 cm. Upperside patterned dark brown and paler brown, underside barred black and rufous on upper breast, paler buff to white on lower breast and abdomen with dark cross-patterns to the feathers. Eyes are yellow to yellow-orange. Face is dark around eyes, greyish around bill, and rufous distally in facial disk. Legs feathered whitish but toes unfeathered. Individual variation is said to be large

Listen to the sound of Rufous-banded Owl

[audio: Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 36 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
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South America : Venezuela to Bolivia


Endemic to the Andes, the Rufous-banded Owl is the only high elevation member of its genus. It occurs from Venezuela to Bolivia in humid montane forest from 1700m to tree-line.


No data

Feeding habits

It is primarily nocturnal, with some crepuscular activity and forages in the canopy, presumably for insects and small mammals.

Video Rufous-banded Owl


copyright: Martin Kennewell


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.
Some authorities (Sibley & Monroe, 1996; IOC 1.6, 2008) retain Mottled Owl (virgata), Black-and-white Owl (nigrolineata), Black-banded Owl (huhula), and Rufous-banded Owl (albitarsis) in the genus Strix. Knig et al. state that the general morphology and phylogenetic evidence of these four species does not indicate separation from the rest of Strix, and Restall goes on to explain that they were originally separated into the genus Ciccaba based on anatomy of the external ear. While Clements (2007) and Howard & Moore (2003) do recognize Black-and-white Owl and Black-banded Owl as being in Ciccaba, Howard & Moore deviate from Clements and retain Mottled Owl and Rufous-banded Owl in Strix alongside aforementioned authorities. The Opus awaits further clarification.
Rufous-banded Owl status Least Concern


Presumed resident

Distribution map

Rufous-banded Owl distribution range map

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