The Owl Pages

Band-bellied Owl ~ Pulsatrix melanota


The Band-bellied Owl is a medium-sized to large owl with no ear tufts.

Photo Gallery (4 pictures)

  • Band-bellied Owl
  • Band-bellied Owl
  • Band-bellied Owl
  • Band-bellied Owl

Sound Gallery

Typical calls (pair) - Napo, Ecuado. August 2001. CC Nick Athanas.


Description: The facial disc is dark brown. Eyebrows are wide and prominent, while the loral streaks are white, forming 'spectacles'. Eyes are dark reddish-brown to blackish-brown while the cere and bill are pale horn. There is a white patch on the throat bordered by a dark area, with a white half-collar below. Upperparts are dark brown with some paler mottling. The wings are dark, narrowly banded white. The tail is dark brown with about six narrow white bars and a white terminal band.
Underparts are buffish-white, with prominent rufous-brown to dark brown bars. The upper chest has a broad brown band, mottled with whitish and buffish tones. The pectoral band is indistinctly broken in the centre of the upper breast.
Legs are feathered whitish-buff, while the bare toes are pale greyish-brown. Claws are horn-coloured with darker tips.

Size: Length 44-48cm. Wing length 275-325mm. Tail length 163-192mm. Weight 420-500g.

Habits: The Band-bellied Owl is an unsociable bird, and apparently nocturnal.

Voice: A rapid sequence of popping notes introduced by a short purring call, with the popping notes having emphasis on the third - hoorr-gogogógog.

Hunting & Food: Little known. Likely similar prey to the Spectacled Owl - Smaller mammals and birds as well as large insects.

Breeding: The breeding habits of the Band-bellied owl are virtually unknown. Probably nests in natural cavities in trees.

Habitat: Humid and dense montane forest, locally more open woodland. Ranges from about 700 to 1600m elevation.

Distribution: East of the Andes from southwest Colombia, through Ecuador and Peru to Bolivia.

Range of Band-bellied Owl (Pulsatrix melanota)
Range of the Band-bellied Owl Pulsatrix melanota

Status: Listed as 'Least Concern' by Birdlife International.

Original Description: Tschudi, Johann Jakob von. 1844. Archiv für Naturgeschichte. In verbindung mit mehreren Gelehrten herausgegeben von Arnold August von Wiegmann. Berlin. 10 (12 vols. 8vo), p. 266.

BirdLife International. 2020. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN.
Boyer and Hume. 1991. "Owls of the World". BookSales Inc.
del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books.
International Ornithological Congress. 2020. "IOC World Bird List - Owls".
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.
Pulsatrix melanota at Xeno-canto.

See also: Other owls from South America, Genus: Pulsatrix.

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2020-10-28.