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

 The Mountain Pygmy-Owl is very similar to the Northern Pygmy-Owl although it is slightly smaller and has a double note call or toot (the Northern Pygmy-Owl has a single note call or toot). It can be found from Southern Arizona in North America south to Oaxaca in South-Central Mexico. Here you can find photos, recordings and information to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. The Field Notes section includes a North and Central American range map and information on nesting, habitat, description and classification.  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 

 

Streaming Real Video Clips

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Video Mountain Pygmy-Owl
Cave Canyon, Arizona
August 2001


 

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

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Photo

104K

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Photo

84K

Volcán de Fuego
  Jalisco, Mexico
June 2001

Cave Canyon
  Arizona
August 2001

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Photo

49K

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Photo

72K
Volcán de Fuego
  Jalisco, Mexico
June 2001

Volcán de Fuego
  Jalisco, Mexico
March 2002

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

Sound File
63K
Volcán de Fuego
 Jalisco, Mexico
June 2001

This is the primary advertising call of this owl. Notice that the hoots are often given in pairs and it has a much faster cadence than with the Northern Pygmy-Owl calls.

Field Notes and Range Map
Mountain Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium gnoma
 

Mountain Pygmy-Owl Range Map The Mountain Pygmy-Owl can be found from Southern Arizona and South-Western New Mexico south to Oaxaca in South-Central Mexico. Its inhabits pine and pine-oak forests (in Arizona typically on south facing slopes dominated by oaks). It is usually found at elevations above 4500 feet.

 The Mountain Pygmy-Owl is a small owl, 6 - 6 3/4 inches in length (about the length of a House Sparrow), that lacks ear tufts. It is almost identical in appearance to the Northern Pygmy-Owl although it is slightly smaller (.4in. average), has a shorter tail and a double note call (the Northern Pygmy has a single note call - see the call above).

 This owl has been traditionally considered part of the Northern Pygmy-Owl complex of owls that includes Northern, Cape, Mountain and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owls. Because of recent DNA evidence these are considered separate species by this site (Glaucidium californicum, Glaucidium haskinsii, Glaucidium gnoma and Glaucidium cabanense respectively).

 The male and female are identical in plumage.  Like the other Pygmy-Owls, it is diurnal (active in daytime) although mostly crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk).  It has a varied diet consisting of the small mammals, small to medium sized birds, reptiles, larger insects, and amphibians within their range.

 The Mountain Pygmy-Owl usually lays 2 to 4  eggs and its breeding season is between April and August. It generally nests in a hole or cavity in a tree (especially in old woodpecker holes).  It is resident (other than juvenile dispersals) and not believed to make any migratory movements.

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