top left top right
The Owl Pages
Follow Me on Pinterest

Least Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium minutissimum

Calls - Glaucidium minutissimum
Typical calls Carlos Botelho State Park, Brazil. April 2005. © Antonio Silveira

Introduction: The Least Pygmy Owl is a small pygmy owl with a rounded head and no ear tufts. It has been proposed that this owl should be renamed Sick's Pygmy Owl Glaucidium sicki.

[For help with terms used in the description, see parts of an owl. For general characteristics common to most owl species, see owl physiology.]

Description: The facial disc is pale greyish-brown with some indistinct rufous concentric lines. Eyebrows are whitish, while the eyes are yellow. The cere is yellowish-grey and the bill yellowish-horn with a slight greenish tint. The crown and upperparts are dusky cinnamon-brown to warm brown, with the crown having tiny whitish flecks and the nape with prominent fake eye-spots (occipital face). The mantle and back are plain warm brown, and the wing-coverts have some pale speckles.
Flight feathers are dark brown, with whitish spots on each web, forming pale bars across the opened wing. The wing near the wrist is whitish below. The tail is dark brown with 3-4 visible broken bars of relatively large, whitish spots.
There is a rounded whitish area around the throat, bordered above by a narrow rufous band, and on the sides by rufous-brown mottling forming patches with a few pale spots. The rest of the underparts are off-white with buffish-rufous streaking on the flanks.The tarsi are feathered, and the toes are bristled and yellowish. Claws are horn with darker tips.

Size: Length 14-15cm. Wing length 85-91mm. Tail length 49-54mm. Weight around 50g. Females are heavier than males.

Habits: The Least Pygmy Owl is partly diurnal, but most active at dusk and dawn.

Voice: The song of the male is a high, hollow double note, somewhat drawn out and repeated at intervals of several seconds - hew-hew, hew-hew, hew-hew...

Hunting & Food: Feeds mainly on insects, but also takes small vertebrates.

Breeding: The breeding habits of the Least Pygmy Owl are little known. Likely nests in abandoned holes of woodpeckers in tree trunks and larger branches.

Habitat: Evergreen rainforest and forest edge with a preference for primary forest, in tropical and subtropical climates. Ranges from sea-level up to 800m elevation in southeast Brazil, reportedly up to 1000m in other areas.

Distribution: East Brazil from southeast Bahia south to Santa Catarina, east to Minas Gerais, south Mato Grosso, Paraná and adjacent eastern Paraguay, and perhaps northeast Argentina.

Distribution of Least Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium minutissimum
Distribution of the Least Pygmy Owl Glaucidium minutissimum

Status: Uncertain, found to be locally not rare in region between Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina. Probably threatened by deforestation.

Original Description: Wied-Neuwied, Prinzen zu Maximilian. 1830. Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte von Brasilien, 3, p. 242.


del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books
König, Claus & Weick, Friedhelm. 2008. "Owls: A Guide to the Owls of the World (Second Edition)". Yale University Press
König, Weick and Becking. 1999. "Owls: A Guide to the Owls of the World". Yale University Press
Mikkola, Heimo. 2012. "Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide". Bloomsbury

Page Information:

Page compiled by . Page last updated 2014-02-10 Owl Species ID: 190.170.000

Click for mobile friendly site
bottom left bottom right