Saturday, 9 August 2014

Northern pygmy-owl

Glaucidium gnoma

Photo by Anne Elliott (Flickr)

Common name:
northern pygmy-owl (en); coruja-anã-nortenha (pt); chevêchette naine (fr); mochuelo gnomo (es); gnomenkauz (de)

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

This species is found in western North America, from south-eastern Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta south to Utah and southern California.

These bird are 17-19 cm long and weigh 60-75 g.

The northern pygmy-owl is mostly found in open coniferous and mixed forests, also using dry savannas and occasionally freshwater lakes and the edges of meadows. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 4.000 m.

They feed on small mammals, particularly voles, as well as shrews, mice, chipmunks, bats, moles, young rabbits, and weasels, and also small birds, small lizards, snakes, frogs, and also insects when in season.

Northern pygmy-owl breed in April-August. They nest almost exclusively on old woodpecker nest, 3-23 m above the ground in coniferous tree. The female lays 3-7 eggs, which she incubates alone for 29 days while the male brings her food. The chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching, but continue to be fed by the parents for another 20-30 days. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 100.000 individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades, but it is susceptible to habitat loss due to logging and burning of forests.

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