|Conservation status||Now considered endangered or threatened in limited range in United States. Still widespread in tropics, although undoubtedly has declined in some areas.|
|Habitat||Mesquite thickets, desert riverine woods, saguaros. In United States, currently most numerous in low stands of live oak and mesquite in southern Texas. Was formerly common in mesquite forest along rivers and in desert dominated by saguaro cactus. In tropics, found in wide range of lowland habitats, mostly in semi-open country.|
Apparently hunts most actively near dawn and dusk. Hunts by watching from raised perch, then darting out in very rapid flight to capture prey in talons. Notably bold and aggressive for its small size.
3-4, sometimes 5. White. Apparently incubation is mostly or entirely by female, about 28 days; male brings food to female during incubation. Young: Both parents take part in providing food for young; male may do most of hunting at first. Age of young at first flight about 27-30 days.
Both parents take part in providing food for young; male may do most of hunting at first. Age of young at first flight about 27-30 days.
Includes insects, birds, rodents, lizards. Diet is not well known, and probably varies by region. Among known foods are large insects (including crickets, caterpillars, and beetles), scorpions, small birds, rodents and other small mammals, and lizards.
Breeding behavior is not well known. Male defends nesting territory with song of monotonous repeated whistles, mostly at dusk and dawn, also at night, sometimes by day. Nest site is in cavity in tree or in giant cactus, usually old woodpecker hole, but sometimes natural hollow in tree. Typically low, 10-30' above ground.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Apparently permanent resident throughout its range.
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Songs and CallsMonotonous, repeated, harsh poip; also whistles.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
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Climate threats facing the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
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