The Owl Pages

Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl ~ Glaucidium sanchezi


The Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl is a tiny owl with no ear-tufts and a relatively long tail.

Photo Gallery (2 pictures)

  • Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl
  • Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl

Sound Gallery

Typical call - Gomez Farias, Tamaulipas, Mexico. CC Pat Wade.


Description: Male: The facial disc is brownish, flecked white to pale buff. Eyebrows are whitish and eyes are yellow. The cere is yellowish-grey and the bill horn-yellow. The crown, nape and upperparts are a rich olive-brown, with the crown being slightly greyer. The forecrown is finely spotted pale cinnamon to whitish, the spots extending along the sides of the crown to the nape, which has two large eye spots (occipital face). The wing coverts are spotted pale, and the scapulars have indistinct paler areas on the outer webs. Flight feathers are barred dark and light. The tail is brown with 5-6 broken whitish bars.
Underparts are whitish, with rufous-brown streaking. There is rufous brown mottling on the sides of the upper breast, spotted pale buff.
Tarsi are feathered and the yellowish-grey toes are bristled. Claws are horn with darker tips.
Female: Differs in having the crown, nape, and upperparts rufous-brown.

Size: Length 13-16cm. Wing length 86-94mm. Tail length 51-57mm. Weight 51-55g. Females are heavier and larger than males.

Habits: The Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl is a partly diurnal bird. Little else is known about its habits.

Voice: A sequence of 2-3 high-pitched, hollow, drawn-out notes and a rate of 2 per second. This call is given at regular intervals and repeated after several seconds - "phew-phew phew-phew-phew phew-phew...". A tremulous whistle may precede the song.

Hunting & Food: Most likely feeds mainly on insects and lizards, as well as other small vertebrates.

Breeding: The breeding habits of the Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl are little known, but are likely similar to other pygmy owls. Nests are mainly in abandoned woodpecker holes. The female lays 2-4 white eggs.

Habitat: Humid subtropical evergreen and pine-evergreen montane and cloud forest, at 900-2100m elevation.

Distribution: This owl is endemic to the mountains of Northeast Mexico, from Tamaulipas and Southeast San Luis Potosí to North Hidalgo.

Range of Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium sanchezi)
Range of the Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl Glaucidium sanchezi

Status: Listed as 'Near Threatened' by Birdlife International.

Original Description: Lowery, George Hines, Jr., and Newman. 1949. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology Louisiana State University (Occ. Pap. Mus. Zool. LSU), no. 22: p. 1-4.

References: (may contain affiliate links)
BirdLife International. 2020. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN.
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".
Johnsgard, Paul A.. 2002. "North American Owls: Biology and Natural History". Smithsonian.
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.
Voous, Karel H.. 1988. "Owls of the Northern Hemisphere". The MIT Press.
Glaucidium sanchezi at Xeno-canto.

See also: Other owls from North America, Genus: Glaucidium.

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2020-10-30. Copyright Information.