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.

References: (may contain affiliate links)
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. 2023. "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. Copyright Information.