The Owl Pages

Oaxaca Screech Owl ~ Megascops lambi


The Oaxaca Screech Owl is a medium-sized screech owl with short ear-tufts and yellow eyes. This species is not currently recognised by the International Ornithological Congress, who consider it a sub-species of the Pacific Screech Owl Megascops cooperi.


Description: The facial disc is greyish, with a prominant dark rim. The eyes are yellow while the bill and cere are olive-green to brownish-olive. The bill has a yellowish tip. The crown is dark, contrasting with frosty areas around the face and hindneck. Upperparts are greyish-brown overlaid with vinaceous, with dark streaks and vermiculations. Underparts have a strong vinaceous wash and herringbone patterns on individual feathers, mixed with suffused vermiculations. Tarsi are featherd to the base of the toes which are are pale greyish-brown and bristled. Claws are dark horn with blackish tips.

Size: Length 20-22cm. Wing Length 148-166mm. Tail length 76-83mm. Weight 115-130g.

Habits: The Oaxaca Screech Owl is Nocturnal and crepuscular.

Voice: The vocal patterns of this owl are little studied. The A-song is believed to be a gruff, guttural grunting trill followed by a staccato croarrr-gogogogogogok. The B-song is a 'whinny' call similar to that of the Eastern Screech Owl. The female's songs are similar but higher in pitch.

Hunting & Food: Feeds on Insects and other arthropods, small mammals, birds and other small vertebrates.

Breeding: Generally unknown, probably nests in holes in trees.

Mortality: No information available, probably similar to the Eastern Screech Owl.

Habitat: Thorn woodlands with candelabra cacti and palms, often surrounding coastal swamps with mangroves. Ranges from sea-level up to about 1000m.

Distribution: Endemic to the Pacific slope of Oaxaca in Southwest Mexico.

Status: Uncertain.

Original Description: Moore, Robert Thomas, & Marshall, J.T. 1959. Condor 61: p. 224, pt. 3.

References: (may contain affiliate links)
del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books.
Duncan, James R.. 2003. "Owls of the World: Their Lives, Behavior and Survival". Firefly 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.

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

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2020-10-24. Copyright Information.