Western Screech-Owl

Megascops kennicottii

Order

STRIGIFORMES

Family

Barn Owls and Typical Owls (Tytonidae and Strigidae)

Code 4

WESO

Code 6

MEGKEN

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Western Screech-Owl is a relatively small owl, and is a close relative to the European Scops Owl and the North American Eastern Screech Owl. Breeding habitats for this species include open deciduous and mixed woodlands throughout the western portion of North America. Nests are insulated cavities in trees or cacti; these are sometimes abandoned woodpecker holes. This bird does not migrate in winter months, and is a permanent resident throughout its range. Diets usually consist of small mammals and invertebrates found on the forest floor. The conservation rating for the Western Screech-Owl is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Western Screech-Owl: Small owl (kennicotti), distinct ear tufts, brown- or gray-mottled upperparts, white shoulder spots, streaked, barred underparts. Lightly mottled facial disk, has prominent dark rim. Yellow eyes, dark gray bill. Until recently considered the same species as Eastern Screech-Owl.


Range and Habitat

Western Screech-Owl: Common resident in much of the western U.S., Canada, and Mexico in a variety of habitats. Range extends from extreme southern Alaska and coastal British Columbia south through the western states and into much of Mexico. Preferred habitats include open woods, especially oak, mixed pine/oak, and sycamore.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"hoo-hoo-hoo", "cr-r-oo-oo-oo"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Western Screech Owl was first described in 1867. Common names include Little Horned Owl, Dusk Owl, Ghost Owl, Mouse Owl, Cat Owl, Little Cat Owl, Puget Sound Screech Owl, Washington Screech Owl, and Coastal Screech Owl.
  • At one time, the Western and Eastern Screech Owl were considered to be one species, but they have since been split into two separate species.
  • When threatened, they stretch their body and tighten their feathers in order to look like a branch stub. They become motionless if disturbed at roost, and can sometimes be caught by hand in this state.
  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Western Screech-Owl

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
ShoulderX
The short feathers overlying the median secondary coverts on the top of the wing. They are located near the back and can be seen as the “first row” of feathers on the birds wing. They are also called marginal coverts and lesser secondary coverts.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X