Balsas Screech-Owl

Megascops seductus




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6




Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

2 - 8

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Nests are built in the cavity of a tree or cactus.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Balsas Screech-Owl: Smallish but hefty owl with mottled gray-brown upperparts, some white markings in wings, and fine streaks and barring on gray-white underparts. Facial disk brown-tan with prominent dark rim, a few black-brown spots on upper chest. Ear tufts are small. Eyes are black-brown and bill is olive-green. Short, rounded wings and tail are barred black and tan. Gray, feathered feet. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Balsas Screech-Owl: Resident of southwest Mexico from southern Jalisco to Colima and Guerrero. Found in thorny woodlands and arid open to semi-open areas with scattered shrubs and trees, cactus or mesquite. Occurs at elevations between 600-1,500 meters. Also found along the edges of agricultural land.

Breeding and Nesting

Balsas Screech-Owl: Although the breeding biology of this species is not documented, it is assumed to be similar to the nesting habits of the Western Screech-Owl and other related screech-owl species. In these species, two to eight white eggs are laid in a cavity in a tree or cactus, usually 6 to 20 feet above the ground. Incubation is about 26 days and is done mostly by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Balsas Screech-Owl: Little is known about the diet of this species but it probably feeds on insects and other arthropods, and on small vertebrates. It likely forages by perching and then waiting for prey to appear on the ground at night. When prey is detected, the owl swoops down to catch it with its talons.


Balsas Screech-Owl: Territorial song is a loud series of gruff, bouncing notes which accelerate to a trill. "Book-book-bokbokbobobrrrrrrr." Female song is a little higher in pitch. Call is a screaming whinny.

Similar Species

Balsas Screech-Owl: Whiskered and Vermiculated Screech-Owls have yellow irises and live in different habitats.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Also called the breast area, it is the frontal area on the body containing the breastplate and major flight muscles.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X