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

The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl's range just barely extends into North America from Central and South America. Here you will find photos, recordings and a brief field notes section to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. A more in depth write up and range map can be found in its natural history page (the Biology link). To jump immediately to any of these sections use the Page Jump Links below.

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Photo Gallery
Audio Recordings
Field Notes
Biology

 

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

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

139K

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

29K

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

105K

San Miguelito Ranch
Texas
March 2010

N.W. Tucson 
Arizona
March 2001
N.W. Tucson 
Arizona
March 2001

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

88K

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

106K

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

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Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Photo

83K
Tarcoles 
Costa Rica
March 2011
N.W. Tucson 
Arizona
July 2000
N.W. Tucson 
Arizona
July 2000
N.W. Tucson 
Arizona
July 2000

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

Sound File
52K
N.W. Tucson, Arizona
May 2000

Sound File
70K
N.W. Tucson, Arizona
March 2001

Sound File
52K
N.W. Tucson,
Arizona
July 2000

Sound File
24K
N.W. Tucson,
 Arizona
March 2001

This is the, most frequently heard, advertising call. The call is delivered much faster (shorter spacing between "toots") than the Northern Pygmy's primary call. This is a male calling.

This is the advertising call of the female.
 Her call is the same pattern as the male's call although she has a different voice (she has a much "sweeter" voice).

This is the juvenile's call. This is normally associated with the juvenile responding or calling to its parent, when the adult arrives with food.

This is a distress or alarm call, not a common call and rarely heard. There has been so little research done on the owl that this particular call has rarely ever been documented.

FIELD NOTES
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium brasilianum

 The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a diurnal owl, although mostly crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).  This small owl is unlikely to be confused with any other owl, in North America, except possibly the Northern Pygmy where their habitats may overlap, in the fall and winter, along the base of the mountains in Tucson, Arizona. The keys to the distinction between the two North American Pygmy Owls is habitat, color, call, white markings and tail barring. The Ferruginous Pygmy has a much lower elevation habitat, living in the saguaro (cactus) and riparian desert habitats of southern Arizona and mesquite (dry) habitats in the Rio Grand areas of southern Texas (the Northern-Pygmy is generally associated with montane forest habitats) . The Ferruginous Pygmy is also much more rufus in color than the Northern Pygmy although this is not necessarily obvious in the field (without a Northern Pygmy to compare to). Another of the visual differences between the Northern and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls is the white markings on the head with the Northern Pygmy having white spots and the Ferruginous Pygmy having white streaking. Lastly and maybe most noticeable of the visual differences is the tail barring. The Ferruginous Pygmy has light brown (to orangey brown) tail bars where the Northern Pygmy has white tail bars. Like most owls the key to identification seems to be their primary call. The Ferruginous Pygmy has much shorter spaced calls often referred to as a "popping" primary call where the Northern Pygmy's "toots" are spaced much further apart. Both Pygmy-Owls have two black patches (outlined in white) on their nape that vaguely resemble a pair of extra eyes. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl has a greenish yellow bill and bright lemon yellow iris (eyes). This owl lacks ear tufts. Length is 6 3/4" (slightly smaller than a White-crowned Sparrow) and the sexes are alike.

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