Stygian Owl (Asio stygius)

Stygian Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Asio stygius | [authority] Wagler, 1832 | [UK] Stygian Owl | [FR] Hibou des bois | [DE] Styxeule | [ES] Lechuzon Negrusco (Arg, Bo), Buho Jamaicano, Buho Estigio (HN) | [NL] Grote Ransuil


Monotypic species


Asio is a genus of typical owls, or true owls, in family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which have the appearance of ears. This group has representatives over most of the planet, and the Short-eared Owl is one of the most widespread of all bird species, breeding in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galpagos Islands. Its geographic range extends to all continents except Antarctica and Australia. These are medium-sized owls, 30?46 cm (12?18 in) in length with 80?103 cm (31.5?40 in) wingspans. They are long winged and have the characteristic facial disc. The two northern species are partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of their range, or wandering nomadically in poor vole years in search of better food supplies. Tropical Asio owls are largely sedentary. Asio owls are mainly nocturnal, but Short-eared Owls are also crepuscular. Most species nest on the ground, but the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, nests in the old stick nests of crows, ravens and magpies (family Corvidae) and various hawks. These owls hunt over open fields or grasslands, taking mainly rodents, other small mammals and some birds.

Physical charateristics

Bill black. Eyes yellow. Face blackish with edge buff. Present long and dark tufts in the ears. Back dark. Belly and chest with vertical and horizontal spots black. Tail finely barred. Legs and fingers naked, with gray bristles. Sexes similar

Listen to the sound of Stygian Owl

[audio: Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 46 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  


Latin America : widespread


It usually prefers relatively woodlands, such as pine-oak and deciduous forests, and even can be found in urban parks.


There are no precise data on their reproduction, only isolated observations. They lay eggs between November and May. In Cuba it was reported nesting in a tree hole and another on the floor, both builted using palm leaves.

Feeding habits

Its diet consists of small mammals like bats and mice, but also birds, reptiles, crustaceans and insects. It is strictly nocturnal.

Video Stygian Owl


copyright: David Ascanio


This species has an extremely 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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Stygian Owl status Least Concern


Probably resident

Distribution map

Stygian Owl distribution range map

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