Western Screech Owl

Western Screech Owl
Western Screech Owl
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Megascops
Species: M. kennicottii
Binomial name
Megascops kennicottii
(Elliot, 1867)
Subespecies

See text.

Synonyms

Otus kennicottii

The Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii) is a small owl native to North and Central America, closely related to the European Scops owl and the North American Eastern Screech Owl. The scientific name commemorates the American naturalist Robert Kennicott.

Contents

Description

Western Screech Owl

Length averages 22 cm (8.7 in), wingspan 55 cm (22 in) and weight 143 g (5.0 oz). Weight ranges from 88 to 220 g (3.1 to 7.8 oz).[2] Females are larger than males and Northern populations are notably larger than Southern races.[3] Adults are larger than Whiskered Screech Owls, with larger feet and more streaked plumage pattern.

There are several morphs: Brown Pacific, Grey Pacific, Great Plains, Mojave, & Mexican. All have either brown or dark gray plumage with streaking on the underparts. There is no red morph.

They have a round head with ear tufts, yellow eyes and a yellowish bill. Their appearance is quite similar to Whiskered and Eastern Screech Owls, therefore, it is best to identify them by their calls. They were previously considered to be the same species as the Eastern Screech Owl.[4]

Call

The primary call is an accelerating series of short whistles at an increasing tempo or a short then long trill falling slightly at end. Other calls barking and chuckling, similar to Eastern[4]They also make a high piched screech.

Range and habitat

The Western Screech Owl is native to Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.[1] Its habitat includes temperate forests, subtropical and tropical montane forests, shrubland, desert, rural fields and gardens and even suburban parks and gardens.[5]

  • Megascops kennicottii aikeni Brewster, 1891
  • Megascops kennicottii bendirei (Brewster, 1882)
  • Megascops kennicottii cardonensis (Huey, 1926)
  • Megascops kennicottii kennicottii (Elliot, 1867)
  • Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei Brewster, 1891
  • Megascops kennicottii suttoni (R. T. Moore, 1941)
  • Megascops kennicottii vinaceus Brewster, 1888
  • Megascops kennicottii xantusi Brewster, 1902
  • Megascops kennicottii yumanensis (A. H. Miller & L. Miller, 1951)

In popular culture

In the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky, Spoorn, the first liutenant to Skench, the evil Ablah General, is a Western Screech. Also, a much less prominent character, 47-2, is a Western Screech.

References

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2009). "Megascops kennicottii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/143200. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0849342585.
  3. ^ [1] (2011).
  4. ^ a b The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley, ISBN 0-679-45122-6
  5. ^ "Megascops kennicottii". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=686659. Retrieved 04 April 2011. 

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