Feruginous pygmy owl

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Feruginous Pygmy Owl
Feruginous pygmy owl.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Order Strigiformes
Family Information
Families Strigidae
Sub-family Striginae
Genus Information
Genus Glaucidium
Species Information
Species G. brasilianum
Population statistics
Conservation status Least concern[1]

The ferruginous pygmy owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) is a species of owl found mainly in the arid or desert areas of Latin America.


The feruginous pygmy owl is small, not more than six inches in length, with a wingspan of fifteen inches. It is predominately a rusty brown in color, with the upper parts spotted in white. The chest and belly are a mix of white with rusty streaks. The head is large and rounded, with fine white streaks on the crown, while the face bears yellow eyes below light-colored eyebrows. The tail is long and dark, bearing reddish-brown to pale bars. Females are similar in size and coloration.


Authorities refer to this bird and its subspecies as Glaucidium brasilianum;[2][3] however, some authorities have referred to the northern subspecies as "Rigway's pygmy owl", and use the Latin name Glaucidium ridgwayi,[4] ostensibly due to genetic differences.

  • Glaucidium brasilianum brasilianum; southern Brazil to eastern Paraguay, Uruguay and northeast Argentina
  • Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum (G. ridgway cactorum); southeastern Arizona and western Mexico (Sonora to Oaxaca)
  • Glaucidium brasilianum duidae; Venezuela: tepuis area of Mt. Duida
  • Glaucidium brasilianum margaritae; Venezuela: Isla Margarita
  • Glaucidium brasilianum medianum; Colombia: northern tropical lowlands
  • Glaucidium brasilianum olivaceum; Venezuela: tepuis area of Mt. Auyan-Tepu
  • Glaucidium brasilianum phaloenoides; northern Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas
  • Glaucidium brasilianum saturatum (G. ridgway saturatum); southern Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala
  • Glaucidium brasilianum stranecki; southern Uruguay to central Argentina
  • Glaucidium brasilianum ucayalae; southeastern Colombia to Peru and northern Bolivia, along eastern base of Andes Mountains

Habitat and range

The ferruginous pygmy owl is found throughout much of Latin America, from southern Texas and Arizona south to northern Argentina. It is found in semi-open country, usually among low strands of oak and mesquite, or in desert areas dominated by saguaro cactus or riverine woods.

Diet and breeding

The feruginous pygmy owl feed on small mammals, birds, and reptiles, in addition to insects and scorpions. They are active during dawn and dusk, and particularly aggressive during the hunt.

Three to four white eggs are laid in a nest in the cavity of a tree or cactus, with the female alone incubating the eggs until hatching 28 days later; the male brings her food during that time. Both parents raise and feed the young.


The species is listed as "least concern" by the ICUN Red Data List, citing the fact that it exists over a large area, suffering little to no harm from human activity. The subspecies G. b. cactorum has been listed by American authorities as "endangered" throughout its range in the southwestern United States, due to habitat loss.