(2000). Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma), version 2.0. Sometimes they add linings such as feathers, strips of cedar bark, and moss. Explore Birds of the World to learn more. This owl has a round white spotted head, weakly defined facial disc, and dark upper breast, wings and tail. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019. Being only 15-17 cm tall, this tiny owl is one of the smallest in North America. Northern pygmy owls are purportedly "sit-and-wait" predators, though they, in fact, hunt somewhat actively, moving from perch to perch with short flights, and pursuing prey at all levels of forest structure. Only the female incubates, while the male hunts and brings food back to the female and the nestlings. When sensing danger, Northern pygmy owls often puff up their feathers to seem larger. Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Northern pygmy owls are not threatened or endangered at present; however, they suffer from habitat loss that is caused mainly by logging and burning of forests. Best estimates indicate their populations have been fairly constant over the last half-century, with possibly a small decline between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. They look like a pair of eyes and that serves as a … Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing. Unlike screech-owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls, Northern Pygmy-Owls are not known to take up residence in human-made nest boxes. The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. 2. Northern Pygmy Owl on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pygmy_owl, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/61791401/95181072. The word “pygmy” in the name of the bird means "small". Northern pygmy owls have a pair of quite convincing “eye spots” on the backs of their heads; these "eyes" are believed to confuse both songbirds that often mob them and predators. Link (2017). In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). The male hunts from dawn to dusk as the young near fledging, and during the first weeks after they leave the nest. These birds prefer open coniferous and mixed forests along the edges of meadows, valleys, streams, fields, and roadsides. In Mexico, they live in pine-oak and scrub forests, and in the southernmost part of their range in Honduras they live in highland pine and cloud forests. The owlets are born helpless and blind but grow quickly and fledge at about 30 days of age. They also have white along the belly so you can tell when they are looking your direction that it is an owl and not a pigeon. They are solitary and secretive birds; males regularly perch at the top of the tallest available conifer trees to issue their territorial call, causing distress and confusion among observers on the ground hoping to get a glimpse. (2014). Owls at this stage are sometimes called "branchers" for their clinging, dangling, and climbing behaviors. They score an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are not on the 2016 State of the Birds Report. Legs are feathered down to the four well-armed toes on each foot. Northern Pygmy-Owls lay their eggs in the debris at the bottom of tree cavities, where there may be wood chips, decomposing leaves, or nests of other birds. NORTHERN PYGMY OWL FACTS: . The male must feed his mate, the young, and himself. 2017. Their habitat includes temperate, subtropical and tropical moist forest, savanna, and wetlands. When alarmed, these owls usually make a high-pitched trill. It has shiny yellow eyes, yellow feet, and small tuffs of fur with its ears. Longevity records of North American birds. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 80,000 individuals, with 53% in the U.S., 18% in Canada, and 27% in Mexico. The main call of Northern pygmy owls is a whistled hoot that sounds as "too-too-too-too-too-too-too" and is used to claim the territory. Sibley, D. A. They also have some brown and red though on the edges of their feathers. Version 2.07.2017. They also live in cottonwood, aspen, and mixed-conifer forests. It may fly fast and low from one tree to the next and then swoop up to take a high perch, rather like a shrike. Partners in Flight (2017). These owls are found in forests ranging from deciduous woods along streams to high-elevation fir and spruce... Food. The male hunts, making food deliveries approximately every 2 hours. Northern pygmy owls often hide their prey in tree cavities for later consumption or may even hang it on thorns. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. The bird has two black nape spots outlined in white on the back of its head, which look like eyes. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. Many people often mistake it for a pigeon due to the coloring. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. These birds usually nest in a tree cavity and will often use old woodpecker holes. A plump little owl with short wings and long tail; yellow eyes, yellowish- white beak, dark, white-ringed “false eyes” on back of head. Small birds such as nuthatches, robins, crossbills, wrens, creepers, hummingbirds, blackbirds, warblers, and jays frequently mob Northern Pygmy-Owls as they do other raptors—this behavior seems particularly bold considering small birds are what pygmy-owls eat. Males attract females to their nest site by perching at the entrance and giving a tooting call. Males: grayish-brown with fine white spotting. Young: spotting on head, dark beak. The mid to lower breast is white with darker vertical streaking. They hunt small mammals, birds, and large insects, and may take a variety of other vertebrates and invertebrates. The Northern pygmy owl is small and has a long tail. However, they occasionally attack prey much larger than themselves, such as Northern Bobwhite and California Quail. Females: tend to be slightly darker than males. Around 20 to 30 days after fledging the young become completely independent and reach reproductive maturity by the first year of age. However, despite its size, the Northern pygmy owl is fierce and doesn't hesitate to prey on birds and mammals larger than itself. The Northern Pygmy Owl's stomach is white with black stripes. Northern pygmy owls are diurnal, and also active at dawn and dusk. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Lutmerding, J. Northern pygmy owls are carnivores and feed on a wide range of small prey. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. They are incredibly hard to spot because of their size and color. They also have two black patches on the back of the neck. Northern Pygmy-Owls are monogamous, at least within one year's breeding season. Some people have suggested that the eyespots on the back of the Northern Pygmy-Owl’s neck help deter mobbing birds.Back to top, Northern Pygmy-Owl numbers are difficult to estimate because the birds are uncommon and hard to count with standardized surveys. Northern Pygmy-Owls nest in holes in trees. They also eat insects such as beetles, butterflies, crickets, and dragonflies, as well as reptiles such as lizards and skinks.Back to top. Early in the breeding cycle males establish and defend a territory. They never dig their own cavities, but instead rely on cavities carved by rot or woodpeckers. It looks like Northern pygmy owls sleep with their eyes open, however, in fact, they have a clear-white eyelid (nictitating membrane) that covers their eyes. The Northern pygmy owl is a small but ferocious hunter of songbirds that is native to North America. Glaucidium gnoma In western forests, this little owl is often active by day. Like other cavity nesters, pygmy-owls need standing dead trees as nest sites. The eyes are yellow and the bill is yellowish-green. A. and A. S. Love. The main predators of Northern Pygmy-Owls are larger owls and raptors as well as some mammals such as weasels. Northern Pygmy-Owl Life History Habitat. Their habitat includes temperate, subtropical and tropical moist forest, savanna, and wetlands. Owls(Order: Strigiformes, Family:Strigidae). The Northern Pygmy Owl tends to perch in a diagonal position rather than an upright position. Pygmy-owls rely on other species to excavate holes for them, which makes them indirectly dependent on populations of woodpeckers.Back to top. The second day after fledging, the owlets gradually climb and fly upward into the forest canopy, where they spend their first few weeks, at times perched "shoulder-to-shoulder" with their siblings, begging for food.