Vermiculated screech-owl

Vermiculated screech-owl
Megascops vermiculatus

Photo by Arlene Koziol (Flickr)

Common name:
vermiculated screech-owl (en); corujinha- (pt); petit-duc vermiculé (fr); autillo vermiculado (es); kritzel-kreischeule (de)

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

This species is found from northern Costa Rica to Colombia, and along the Andes south to northern Bolivia. There are also separate populations in north-western Colombia and northern Venezuela, and in southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and extreme northern Brazil.

These birds are 20-23 cm long and weigh 90-130 g.

The vermiculated screech-owl is mostly found in humid tropical forests, also using dry tropical forests. They are mainly found in lowland areas, but can occur up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

They feed mainly on large insects, but possibly also some small vertebrates.

Vermiculated screech-owls breed in March-July. They nest in natural tree cavities, or sometimes in old nest holes of other birds such as trogons. The female lays 2-3 eggs which she mainly incubates alone for 26-37 days. There is no information regarding the fledging period, but when food is scarce the larger chicks may eat their smaller siblings.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range. There is very little information about its abundance, but its possibly not rare, at least in some areas. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

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