Overview

Distribution

Western screech-owls (Otus kennicotti) inhabit western North America, northwestern Mexico and coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest (Cannings and Angell, 2001). Ranging as far north as southeast Alaska and southern Canada to the Baja penninsula and into Mexico, western screech-owls make their homes within the diverse communities of the riparian deciduous woodlands of North America (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999). Within the last 40 years, the range of western screech-owls has expanded as far east as Texas (perhaps due to increased tree-planting) and as a result they are now found sympatrically with their very close relative, eastern screech-owls (Otus asio).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Cannings, R., T. Angell. 2001. Western Screech-Owl (Otus Kennicottii). In the Birds of North America, No. 597. Philadelphia, PA: (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc.
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999. "The Birdhouse Network-Eastern Screech-Owl" (On-line). Accessed 01/23/04 at http://birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/speciesaccounts/EASTSCREECHOWL.htm.
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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) RESIDENT: from south-coastal and southeastern Alaska, coastal and southern British Columbia, northern Idaho, western Montana, southeastern Colorado and extreme western Oklahoma south to southern Baja California, northern Sinaloa, in Mexican highlands to Distrito Federal, and to western Texas (AOU 1998, Cannings and Angell 2001). Apparently has expanded north into southern Alberta.

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Physical Description

Morphology

Otus kennicottii is a small owl with feathered "ear tufts". Adults are 19 to 25.5 cm in length; and weigh 170.1 g on average. Male wingspans are 168.4 mm, female wingspans are 174.5 mm. Sexes are alike in plumage characteristics. Plumage of western screech-owls is generally monomorphhic in a given area; brown or gray-brown in the northwest and gray in southern deserts. Some populations in the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest are more variable in color, often displaying reddish-brown morphs (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

The face of western screech-owls is pale with a dark lateral border, their underparts are streaked and barred. They have yellow eyes and dark bills. Their feet and toes are feathered in northern populations but bristled in southern deserts (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Range mass: 163.5 to 183 g.

Average mass: 170.1 g.

Range length: 19 to 25.5 cm.

Range wingspan: 168.4 to 174.5 mm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; female larger

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Size

Length: 22 cm

Weight: 186 grams

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Type Information

Type for Otus kennicottii kennicottii
Catalog Number: USNM 120014
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): C. Cooke
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Salem, Marion, Oregon, United States, North America
  • Type: Ridgway. April 8, 1914. Birds Of North And Middle America. 6: 685 (in key), 700.
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Type for Otus kennicottii kennicottii
Catalog Number: USNM 45847
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): F. Bischoff
Year Collected: 1866
Locality: Sitka, Baranof Island, Sitka Division, Alaska, United States, North America
  • Type: Elliot. (Not Earlier Than September 24) 1867. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. for 1867: 99.
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Ecology

Habitat

Western screech-owls usually inhabit low elevation riparian and deciduous oak woodland commmunities (Campbell et al., 1990; Cannings, 1997; Cannings and Angell, 2001). They will often inhabit streamside groves, deserts, suburban parks and gardens (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999). The abundance of O. kennicotti is positively associated with overstory cover of mesquite (prosopis) and understory cover of native perennial vegetation (Hardy et al., 1999).

Within the United States O. kennicottii occurs in high densities in the following regions:

Arizona: mesquite-riparian zones of the Sonoran Desert. In particular, western screech-owls are strongly associated with structurally diverse uplands of the Sonoran Desert, containing saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea), mesquite woodlands and cottonwood (Populus)-willow (Salix) riparian areas (Hardy et al., 1999).

Texas: lower elevations in riparian zones dominated by Arizona sycamore (Plantanus wrightii) as well as pure oak habitats (Gelbach and Leverett, 1995; Cannings and Angell, 2001).

California: western screech-owls are strongly associated with areas with fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) and oak woodlands (Feusier, 1989; Noble, 1990; Lehman, 1994; Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Washington and Alaska: western screech-owls are found in riparian habitats and the mixed forests of coastal regions consisting of big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), red alder (Alnus rubra), Douglas fir (Psudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)and western red cedar (Thyja plicata) (Kitchin, 1949; Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Colorado: western screech-owls are primarily found in rural developed areas and areas with broad-leaved cottonwoods along river basins. They are also associated with farmyards containing mature, unpruned cottonwood trees and shrubbery. Throughout their range they are found in urban and suburban parks as well as residential areas (Levad, 1998; Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

  • Campbell, R., N. Dawe, I. McTaggert-Cowan, J. Cooper, G. Kaiser. 1990. The birds of British Columbia. Vol 2: diurnal birds of prey through woodpeckers. Columbia Museum, Victoria: R. Br.
  • Feusier, S. 1989. Distribution and behavior of Western Screech-Owls (Otus kennicottii) of the Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary, Orange Co., California. Humboldt State University, CA: M.S. thesis.
  • Gehlbach, F., J. Leverett. 1995. Mobbing of eastern screech-owls: predatory cues, risk to mobbers and degree of threat. The Condor, 97(3): 831-834.
  • Hardy, P., M. Marrison, R. Barry. 1999. Abundance and habitat associations of Elf Owls and Western Screech-Owls in the Sonoran Desert. The Southwestern Naturalist, 44(3): 311-323.
  • Kitchin, E. 1949. Birds of the Olympic Peninsula. Port Angeles, WA: Olympic Stationers.
  • Lehman, P. 1994. The birds of Santa Barbara Co., California. University of California, Santa Barbara: Vertebrate Museum.
  • Levad, R. 1998. Western Screech-Owl. Pp 212-213 in Colorado breeding bird atlas (H.E. Kingery, ed.). , Denver: Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership and Colorado Division of Wildlife.
  • Noble, P. 1990. Distribution and density of owls at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Santa Clara Co., California. Western Birds, 21: 11-16.
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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Woodland, especially broadleaf (e.g. oak) and riparian woodland, and scrub (Subtropical and Temperate zones) (AOU 1983). Also moist coniferous forest and woodland on northwest coast. Usually found at lower elevations, where in southwest range overlaps with Whiskered Screech-owl (National Geographic Society 1983).

Nests in natural tree cavity or an abandoned woodpecker hole, including holes in saguaro cactus. Readily nest in nest boxes.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

In Rocky Mountains some individuals may descend to lower elevations or into more protected valleys for winter (Voous and Cameron 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

Western screech-owls are "sit-and-wait" predators. They leave their roosts to forage just before sunset. Their hunting technique may predispose the northern populations to primarily hunt mice. When foraging near bodies of water, O. kennicottii will perch and wait until crayfish emerge in the shallows, then it will fly down and grab one by dipping only its legs into the water. It will also hawk for flying insects and glean arthropods from folage, but it prefers to catch small, terrestrial mammals (Hayward and Garton, 1988; Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Songbirds are a frequent meal for O. kennicottii and as a result the owls are often mobbed in response to their threats. Frequent mobbers are those songbirds that are most often preyed upon (for example, northern cardinals and white-throated sparrows). Mobbing by songbirds occurs most frequently during the spring and early summer nesting period. Most mobbers are permanent residents that are always part of the avian prey community. Birds use seasonal song, age-realted plumage and nest-area cues of western screech-owls to help assess the danger of predation (Gehlbach and Leverett, 1995).

Western screech-owls commonly eat: small mammals, birds, annelid worms, insects, crayfish and fish.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; fish; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Piscivore , Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)

  • Hayward, G., E. Garton. 1988. Resource partitioning among forest owls in the River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. Oecologica, 75: 253-265.
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Comments: Feeds mainly on small mammals (mice and shrews), insects, birds; sometimes also other small vertebrates. Diet may vary seasonally and geographically, depending on local prey abundance.

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Associations

Colonies of tree ants (genus Crematogaster) will often occupy the nest sites of Otus kennicottii and apparantly protect the nest from disturbance by biting or stinging potential predators. This relationship seems to be a unique symbiosis in the genus Otus, however, it is infrequent (McCallum et al., 1995).

The abundance of western screech-owls is positively associated with the abundance of elf owls (Micrathene whitneyi) in the Sonoran Desert (Hardy et al., 1999).

Mutualist Species:

  • McCallum, D., F. Gehlbach, S. Webb. 1995. Life history and ecology of Flammulated Owls in a marginal New Mexico population. Wilson Bulletin, 107(3): 530-537.
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Western screech-owls typically react to the presence of predators with bill snaps and bark calls.

Known predators include: spotted owls (Strix occidentalis), great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), barred owls (Strix varia), raccoons (Procyon lotor), gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi) and crows and jays (family Corvidae).

Known Predators:

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Known predators

Otus kennicottii is prey of:
Corvidae
Pituophis melanoleucus
Bubo virginianus
Strix varia
Strix occidentalis
Procyon lotor

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Otus kennicottii preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Actinopterygii
Annelida
Arthropoda
Insecta
Aves
Mammalia

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Canadian population estimated at 3000-10,000 individuals (Chaundy-Smart 2002); many more than this occur elsewhere in the range.

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General Ecology

In central Idaho, home ranges of 2 radio-tagged birds reported as 3-9 ha and 29-58 ha based on 75% and 95% contour intervals, respectively. Distance between adjacent pairs ranges from ca. 50 up to a few hundred meters (see Johnsgard 1988).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

The song of Otus kennicottii consists of 5 to 15 hollow whistle hoots of a single pitch that accelerate towards the end in a "bouncing ball" sequence (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Communication Channels: acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Cycle

Development of young at age-

1 week: eyes open and egg tooth absent.

1-2 weeks: young bill snap in response to disturbance.

3 weeks: more aggressive, hissing and swaying with wings outstreched.

Reach fledgling state within approximately 35 days. For the first 5 weeks following fledging, juvenilles will remain in close association with thier parents and most probably begin breeding when 1 year old (Sumner 1929, Cannings and Angell 2001).

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Life Expectancy

Western screech-owls usually live from 1 to 8 years in the wild. The longest recorded lifespan for a western screech-owl in the wild is 13 years, in captivity the longest recorded lifespan is 19 years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
13 (high) years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
19 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
1 to 8 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 19 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals may live up to 12.9 years (Clapp et al. 1983). Two captive birds lived to the age of 19 (http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/).
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Reproduction

Otus kennicottii is usually monogomous, although polygamy occurs occasionally.

Before the breeding season, male O. kennicottii defend an area containing several nest cavities. Pair formation begins during the months of January and February throughout the range. Allopreening is an important part of continuous pair-bonding behavior and occurs at all times of the year. Courtship-feeding is common. The male will present food to the female and perform elaborate courtship displays involving bowing, bill snapping, and hopping.

Mating System: monogamous

Throughout its range, O. kennicottii will nest in tree cavities, most commonly those excavated by other species. Examples include: fox squirrels, northern flickers, gilded flickers, pileated woodpeckers and European starlings (Campbell et al., 1990; Cannings and Angell, 2001; Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999). They also inhabit natural tree cavites and nest boxes.

Eggs are laid during March and April. They are white and oval to broadly eliptical. Females lay 2 to 7 eggs per clutch (3 to 5 on average). Incubation lasts 26 to 34 days and the chicks fledge in 27 to 35 days.

Western screech-owls probably begin breeding when they are 1 year old, adults attempt to nest every year (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Breeding interval: Western screech owls breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Eggs are laid in March or April.

Range eggs per season: 2 to 7.

Average eggs per season: 3.

Range time to hatching: 26 to 34 days.

Range fledging age: 29 to 35 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Western screech-owls add no new material to the nest site, rather they use whatever substrate is already present. They prefer to nest in tree cavities or nest boxes. Cottonwood seems to be favored wherever available, most likely because of its tendency to form large natural cavities (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Altricial nestlings are covered in white down when they hatch. Their eyes are closed and they have an egg tooth. Males will feed females throughout egg-laying, incubation and brooding periods until the young are about 3 weeks old (Cannings and Angell, 2001). Both males and females provide food for the nestlings (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999; Ehrlich et al., 1988).

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Female)

  • Campbell, R., N. Dawe, I. McTaggert-Cowan, J. Cooper, G. Kaiser. 1990. The birds of British Columbia. Vol 2: diurnal birds of prey through woodpeckers. Columbia Museum, Victoria: R. Br.
  • Cannings, R., T. Angell. 2001. Western Screech-Owl (Otus Kennicottii). In the Birds of North America, No. 597. Philadelphia, PA: (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc.
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 1999. "The Birdhouse Network-Eastern Screech-Owl" (On-line). Accessed 01/23/04 at http://birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/speciesaccounts/EASTSCREECHOWL.htm.
  • Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, D. Wheye. 1988. The Birder's Handbook: A field guide to the natural history of North American birds. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.
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Clutch size averages 3-4. Incubation about 26 days.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Megascops kennicottii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 9 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATATTTAATCTTTGGTGCATGAGCAGGAATAGTTGGCACTGCCCTTAGCCTCCTCATCCGAGCCGAATTAGGACAACCAGGGGCACTCCTTGGCGACGACCAAATCTACAATGTAATCGTTACCGCCCATGCCTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCAATCATGATTGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGATTAGTTCCATTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGATATGGCCTTCCCCCGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTTTGATTACTCCCACCATCATTCCTACTTTTACTAGCCTCCTCTACAGTAGAAGCTGGGGCAGGCACTGGATGAACAGTATACCCCCCGCTAGCCAGTAACCTGGCCCACGCCGGAGCCTCAGTTGACCTCGCCATCTTCTCACTGCATCTGGCGGGAGTATCATCCATCTTAGGAGCAATCAACTTTATCACCACTGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCATCCCTGACCCAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTTGTATGATCGGTCCTAATCACTGCTATCCTCCTCCTACTATCTCTCCCAGTACTCGCTGCAGGCATCACCATGCTACTAACGGACCGCAACCTGAACACTACATTCTTCGACCCTGCCGGCGGAGGCGACCCTGTATTATACCAACACCTCTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Megascops kennicottii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 12
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Western screech-owls are closely linked to the riparian habitats of its range; these areas are often the first habitat in any given area to suffer the effects of urban development. Although pairs nesting in suburban areas are generally tolerant of humans close to their nests, they may be sensitive to local disturbance at nest sites from frequent visits by birders (Hardy et al., 1999; Cannings and Angell, 2001). Breeding populations are continually threatend by rapid urbanization and degradation of habitat, and face possible competition from exotic species such as European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (Hardy et al., 1999).

Currently there are no official data on the trends of population densities for western screech-owls. However, their populations are probably declining slowly as habitat is lost (Cannings and Angell, 2001).

Western screech-owls are protected by the US MBTA and are listed under Appendix II by CITES, but are not listed on the US Federal List or the IUCN Red List.

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Still widespread; population probably stable in many areas, probably declining in others. Threatened by habitat loss and/or degradation, particularly the loss of riparian forests and woodlands.

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Population

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: No rangewide data, but probably declining slowly as habitat declines (Cannings and Angell 2001). Definite declines have been noted in the more developed parts of southwestern British Columbia (Chaundy-Smart 2002).

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Threats

Degree of Threat: High

Comments: Primary threat is loss or degradation of habitat. Closely linked to riparian forests and woodlands over much of its range, and this is often the first habitat in any given area to be altered, especially in the dry southwest (Cannings and Angell 2001). On coastal British Columbia, may be threatened by largescale logging (Chaundy-Smart 2002). In the Pacific Northwest, traditional territories have been abandoned coincident with the arrival of Barred Owls in an area (Cannings and Angell 2001).

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Management

Global Protection: Very many (>40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There are no known adverse affects of western screech-owls on humans.

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Western screech-owls can live in suburban habitats where nest and root sites are available. Pairs nesting in these suburban habitats are often tolerant of humans close to their nests , this allows birders to visit their nest sites (Cannings and Angell, 2001). In addition, Otus kennicottii (previously thought to be conspecific with Otus asio), challenges researchers to discover more about this magnificent bird and hopefully urge conservationists to adopt an active role in habitat preservation.

Positive Impacts: ecotourism ; research and education

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Wikipedia

Western screech owl

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.

Description[edit]

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, and 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, so it's best to identify them by their calls. They were previously considered to be the same species as the eastern screech owl.[4]

Call[edit]

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 pitched screech.

Range and habitat[edit]

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 even suburban parks and gardens.[1]

Breeding[edit]

They are permanent residents of the northwest North and Central America, breeding in open woods, or mixed woods at forest edges. They often use holes in tree cavities or cactus that were excavated by woodpeckers.

Prey[edit]

These birds wait on perches to swoop down on unsuspecting prey; they may also catch insects in flight. They are active at dawn, night or near dusk, using their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice or rats, birds, and large insects; however they are opportunistic predators, even taking small trout at night. Motion-activated cameras have photographed the birds eagerly scavenging a road-kill opossum. They have also been known to hunt Mallard ducks and cottontail rabbits, occasionally. Hatching of their young, usually four to five, is synchronized with the spring migration of birds; after migrants pass through screech-owls take fledglings of local birds.

Provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office

Subspecies[edit]

There are 9 recognized subspecies:[5]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky, Spoorn, the first lieutenant to Skench, the evil Ablah General, is a western screech owl. Another less prominent character, 47-2, is also a member of the species.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Megascops kennicottii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  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. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
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Notes

"Cool facts"

A common small owl of the West, the Western Screech-Owl can be found in urban as well as wild lands.

Occasionally takes prey larger than itself, including cottontail rabbits and Mallards.

Western Screech-Owls are vulnerable to habitat loss because of urban development.

Until recently it was considered the same species as the Eastern Screech-Owl.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly treated as a subgenus within Otus (Marshall and King in Amadon and Bull 1988), but mitochondrial DNA and vocal differences with Old World species indicate that generic status is warranted (Konig et al. 1999).

Prior to 1982 regarded as conspecific with O. ASIO. Populations in northwestern Mexico have been treated as separate species (O. VINACEUS) by some authors. Mixed pairs and overlap of ASIO and KENNICOTTII in Colorado and Texas is attributed to long-distance dispersal in marginally poor habitat. Sympatry without interbreeding with ASIO reported for western Edwards Plateau (Dixon 1989).

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