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Pernambuco Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium mooreorum

Calls - Glaucidium mooreorum
Typical call October 1990. © Galileu Coelho

The Pernambuco Pygmy Owl Glaucidium mooreorum was first described in December 2002 when two study skins were examined in Pernambuco, Brazil. The skins were originally collected in 1980 and thought to be subspecies of the Least Pygmy Owl Glaucidium minutissimum or Amazonian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium hardyi. Upon closer examination of the skins, and vocalisations of the birds also obtained in 1980, it was concluded that this was a new species. The name mooreorum was chosen in honour of Dr. Gordon Moore and his wife Betty, who have made significant contributions to conservation.

[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: Brownish Crown, with pileum and sides of the face having conspicuous white spots bordered with greyish yellow-brown.
Concealed white collar on the nape of the neck, followed by a narrow belt of yellowish brown. Back, scapulars, upper wing coverts and rump are all brownish. Remiges are darker than the back, with conspicuous, irregularly shaped cinnamon spots on the outer web and concealed large buffy white spots on the inner web. Tail is dark brown with 12 rectrices that have five incomplete white bands that appear as irregularly shaped dots. The two central rectrices have all five white bands on both sides. The outer rectrices have the inner side presenting five white bands while the outer side presents none or only one white band.
The centre of the underparts from the chin to the crissum are white. The sides of the chest are yellowish brown with a few inconspicuous white spots. Sides and flanks are also yellowish brown and have a few white streaks. The abdomen is white with yellowish brown streaks.
Eyes are yellow, the bill greenish-yellow, and the tarsi and toes are orange-yellow.

Size: Two Specimens measured, both adult males:
1 - Tail Length 5.12cm (2.01")  Wing chord 8.7cm (3.42") Weight 51g (1.8oz)
2 - Tail Length 5.06cm (1.99")  Wing chord 8.7cm (3.42")

Habits: Unknown, probably similar to other Pygmy Owls

Voice: Primary song is a short phrase composed of 5-7 (usually 6) notes uttered at around 4.2 notes per second.

Hunting & Food: Probably feeds on insects and small mammals, birds and reptiles.

Breeding: Unknown, probably similar to other Pygmy Owls

Habitat / Distribution: Known from only two localities in Pernambuco.
1 - Reserva Biológica de Saltinho - a protected area of 4.8 square kms composed primarily of old secondary forests
2 - Usina Trapiche, Sirinhaém - individual observed high in the canopy near the edge of a forest belt.

Distribution of Pernambuco Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium mooreorum
Distribution of the Pernambuco Pygmy Owl Glaucidium mooreorum

Status: Critically endangered. The entire population of this species is estimated to cover less than 100 square Kilometres. The forests in this range are severely fragmented and continue to decline in quality as a result of ever-growing expansion of human activities in the region.

Original Description: da Silva, José Maria Cardoso; Coelho, Galileu & Gonzaga, Pedreira. 2002. Ararajuba 10 (2): 123-130


da Silva, Josť Maria Cardoso; Coelho, Galileu & Gonzaga, Pedreira. 2002. "Discovered on the brink of extinction: a new species of Pygmy-Owl (strigidae: Glaucidium) from Atlantic Forest of northeastern Brasil.". Ararajuba 10 (2): 123-130

Page Information:

Page compiled by . Page last updated 2013-05-28 Owl Species ID: 190.155.000

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