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Cape Pygmy-Owl
A Reference for North and Central American Owls

 The Cape Pygmy-Owl is very similar to the Northern Pygmy-Owl although isolated geographically at the tip of Baja California in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. Recent DNA evidence also shows that the two are not closely related. Here you can find photos, recordings and information to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. The Field Notes section includes a Baja California range map and information on range, habitat, description and identification.  To jump immediately to any of these sections use the Page Jump Links below.

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Photo Gallery
Audio Recordings
Field Notes and Range Map 

 

PHOTO GALLERY
Click on the thumbnail to bring up each of the Owl photos.

Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

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Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

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Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

13K

La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
March 2002

La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001
La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001

Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

35K

Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

97K

Cape Pygmy-Owl Photo

51K
La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001
La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001
La Laguna
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001

Additional Photos

Photo 1
44K

RECORDINGS
Click on the sonograms to bring up each of the recordings.

Sound File
56K
La Laguna Meadow,
Baja California, Mexico
June 2001

This is the primary advertising call of this owl. These evenly spaced hoots are the most common call heard in the field.

FIELD NOTES and Range Map
Cape Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium hoskinsii

 
The Cape Pygmy-Owl is a diurnal owl, although mostly crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), and is rarely seen and/or heard at night. This small owl is unlikely to be confused with any other owl, in Baja California, except possibly the very small Elf Owl, although the Elf Owl is strictly nocturnal and generally found at low elevations. It is very similar to the Northern Pygmy-Owl although has a call with a slightly higher pitch, sharper notes and slightly shorter spacing between the notes of its call and is geographically divided from the Northern Pygmy. The Cape Pygmy is generally restricted to higher elevations in the Sierra Victoria and Sierra de la Giganta mountains of lower Baja California Sur although may descend from the mountains in the winter. The Cape Pygmy-Owl is grayish-brown with a white chest that has bold brown streaking; it has a long narrow tail that is crossed with  white bars and buffy white spotting on the forehead, sides and back. There are two black patches on its nape that vaguely resemble a pair of extra eyes; it has a pale grayish yellow bill and bright yellow iris (eyes). This owl lacks ear tufts. Often seen as the lead bird in a cloud of screaming (mobbing) song birds. Length is 6 3/4" (slightly smaller than a White-crowned Sparrow) and the sexes are alike.

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