The Owl Pages

Pernambuco Pygmy Owl ~ Glaucidium mooreorum


The Pernambuco Pygmy Owl is a tiny owl with no ear-tufts. This owl's specific mooreorum is in honor of Dr. Gordon Moore.

Sound Gallery

Typical call - October 1990. © Galileu Coelho.


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. Wing chord 8.7cm. Weight 51g.
2 - Tail Length 5.06cm. Wing chord 8.7cm.

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 state of Pernambuco, Brazil.
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.

Range of Pernambuco Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium mooreorum)
Range of the Pernambuco Pygmy Owl Glaucidium mooreorum

Status: Rare. Listed as 'Critically Endangered' by Birdlife International.

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

References: (may contain affiliate links)
BirdLife International. 2020. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN.
da Silva, José 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.
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.
Glaucidium mooreorum at Xeno-canto.

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

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