Western Screech Owl

Western Screech Owl

Some birds of prey can be very scary because they look awesome. This is the case of the western screech owl, one of the best known species and also one of those that can impose the most.

Would you dare to go and see him?

This species is a nocturnal bird of prey that is native to Central and North America, belonging to the genus megacops of the family strigidae. Its scientific name is megacops kennicottii, named after the American ornithologist Robert Kennicott.

megacops kennicottii

This species is native to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Their habitat is found in temperate subtropical and tropical forests, deserts, scrub, rural gardens and some parks and suburban gardens.

Does it impose so much?

It is a medium sized bird that reaches 22 cm in length and weighs 150 grams. When it extends its wings, it can reach a wingspan of 51 cm. There are different color variations in their plumage due to the large number of subspecies. However, it appears that the nominal colour is grey.

Its head is round, with protruding locks, yellow eyes and a yellow beak. It looks similar to the megacops asio. The best way to distinguish them is through the sound they can make.

Nine subspecies have been recognized:

  • Megacops kennicottii kennicottii: This species extends from the southern coast of Alaska to the northwestern part of Canada and the southern United States, in Oregon.
  • Megacops kennicottii macfarlanei: Species that lives in British Columbia, eastern Oregon, Idaho and western Montana.
  • Megacops kennicottii bendirei: It resides in western California and the extreme northwest of Mexico.
  • Megacops kennicottii aikeni: Species that lives in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
  • Megacops kennicottii cardonensis: In northeastern Baja California (northwestern Mexico).
  • Megacops kennicottii yumanensis: It lives in southeastern California, southwestern Arizona and northwestern Mexico.
  • Megacops kennicottii suttoni: It can be found in the far south of the United States and southern Mexico.
  • Megacops kennicottii xantusi: In southern Baja California.
  • Megacops kennicottii vinaceus: Lives in western Mexico.

Ideal for falconry

When they live in the wild, they become more active at night or in the early evening. With excellent hearing and fantastic night vision, they can locate their prey in the dark as if it were daylight. They usually hunt from a hanger, from which they throw themselves on their prey.

It feeds mainly on small mammals, young birds and large insects, as well as some invertebrate animals. He usually eats all night and then rests during the day.

hunting western owl

If you are looking for a bird to train in the world of falconry, you should bet on this bird of prey. In America it is widely used for its great capacity as a hunting bird. If she’s trained well, there’s no prey that can escape her. Perhaps the biggest downside is that it requires a lot of training.

Reproduction seems to occur in April-May, with four eggs laid by the female. Both parents incubate the eggs for 25 days, until the hatchlings are fed by both parents until they are able to fend for themselves.

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