Glaucidium gnoma
(Northern Pygmy-owl)

Order: Strigiformes
Order Description: Owls
Family: Strigidae
Family Description: Typical Owls

Physical Description:
6 3/4-7 1/2" (17-19 cm). A very small owl with long, finely barred tail. Small round head has no ear tufts and two white-edged black spots at back of neck suggesting eyes. Brown with fine buffClick word for definition spotting on head and streaked flanks; white spots on wings; bolder brown streaks on white belly and breast. Eyes clear yellow.

Similar Species- Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

A series of hollow whistles ending with 2-3 deliberate notes on one pitch. Also a rapid trill or rattle.

Resident from British Columbia, south through western U.S., interior Mexico, and Guatemala to central Honduras, and east to Colorado, central New Mexico, and western Texas. Possibly breeds in southeastern Alaska.

Found in dense forests or open woodlands in foothills and mountains; frequents meadows while foraging. Usually found in vicinity of forest opening, rather than in unbroken, dense forest.

Feeds mainly on mice and large insects, but will also eat other small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Chiefly diurnalClick word for definition; most activity at dawn and dusk. Glides/dives down from elevated perch to capture prey. In Idaho, forages diurnally more than other forest owls. cachesClick word for definition food. Nests in natural or abandoned cavity in standing snag. Tends to be solitary, or in highly dispersed pairs or faily groups throughout year. Reported territory size: 0.2-4 km2 (Europe). Maximum reported densityClick word for definition: 4.2 territories/10 km2 (Europe). May display seasonal elevation migrationClick word for definition.

Eggs are laid in April- June in California, May-June in Colorado and Arizona. Female (probably) incubatesClick word for definition usualy 3 eggs (in northern Americas) for about 29 days; male brings food. Young are fed by both parents, leave nest at about 30 days, and are tended by parents another 20-30 days, maturing in first year.

Element Code: ABNSB08010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N4N5

Important State References:
Hayward, G.D. 1983. Resource partitioning among six forest owls in The River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 132pp.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.