The Owl Pages

Colima Pygmy Owl ~ Glaucidium palmarum


The Colima Pygmy Owl is a tiny owl with a rounded head and no ear-tufts.

Photo Gallery (3 pictures)

  • Colima Pygmy Owl
  • Colima Pygmy Owl
  • Colima Pygmy Owl

Sound Gallery

Typical call (male) - Panuco, Sinaloa, Mexico. November 1999. CC Richard Hoyer.


Description: The facial disc is pale ochre with indistinct darker concentric lines. Eyebrows are short and whitish. Eyes are yellow. Cere and bill are yellowish-horn. Upperparts are greyish tawny-brown, with the mantle slightly more greyish than the crown. Forehead to nape are densely spotted whitish or pale buff. The nape has an occipital face (false eyes) with a cinnamon band across the hindneck. Scapulars have indistinct pale buffish spots, and the wing-coverts are slightly spotted pale buff. Flight feathers are barred light and dark, and the tail is greyish-brown with 6-7 buffish-white bars, of which only 3-4 are normally visible, as 2 are concealed by the uppertail-coverts.
Underparts are off-white. The sides of the upper breast and streaking on the rest of the underparts are cinnamon-brown.
Tarsi are feathered, and the pale yellowish toes are bristled. Claws are horn with darker tips.

Size: Length 13-15cm. Wing length 81-88mm. Tail length 51-56mm. Weight 43-48g. Females are larger and heavier than males.

Habits: Not well studied. This owl is partly diurnal. Other habits likely similar to other Pygmy Owls.

Voice: The song of the male is a series of hollow, short notes, often increasing in number (up to 24 or more in one phrase), about three notes per second - whew-whew-whew whew-whew-whew-whew-whew whew-whew-whew-whew-whew-whew... The interphrase intervals are relatively long. The series are often preceded by trilling notes.

Hunting & Food: The Colima Pygmy Owl feeds on small birds, reptiles and other small vertebrates, as well as larger insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding: Little studied, likely nests in abandoned woodpecker holes and lays eggs in May.

Habitat: Dry, tropical woodland from sea level up to about 1500m, including thorny woods in foothills, palm groves, semi-deciduous forest up into dry oak woodland. Sometimes inhabits dry pine-oak woods. Occurs locally in ravines at the upper edge of tropical deciduous forest, and has also been recorded in swampy forest.

Distribution: West Mexico along the Pacific coast from Central Sonora to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca.

Range of Colima Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium palmarum)
Range of the Colima Pygmy Owl Glaucidium palmarum

Status: Uncertain, locally common.

Original Description: Nelson, Edward William. 1901. Auk 18: p. 46.

del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books.
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.

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

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2015-11-20.