August 5, 2019 Birds from Colombia

The Tropical Screech-Owl is the most common and widespread screech-owl of the neotropics. This species is found from Costa Rica through much of lowland South America.

It is the most common small owl in Colombia and is found throughout the Country except on the Pacific side of the Western mountain range.

Tropical Screech-owl, Megascops choliba, © Victoria Restrepo

It is a nocturnal bird that rests hidden in trees during the day. It forages at low heights and captures its prey on branches or ground. Sometimes it catches insects on the fly, especially near artificial lights. It usually stays in pairs.

It feeds mainly on arthropods such as crickets, spiders, beetles, moths, scorpions, worms, mantis, cockroaches, cicadas, and bumblebees. Sometimes it also feeds on snakes, bats, and small mammals.

The clutch of 1 to 3 eggs is laid directly in natural cavities, abandoned bird nests, and old woodpecker holes. If feeling threatened during brooding, they will strike humans with their claws, and they can throw themselves flat on their backs over the nestlings and extend their claws toward the intruder.

Tropical Screech-owl, Megascops choliba, © Victoria Restrepo

The tropical screech owl chicks are covered with white down. The nestlings are born with their eyes closed and begin to open after a week. Fledging occurs around one month of age.

I loved seeing them in the mango tree, following me as I went around my tripod. You can see them here:

Victoria Restrepo ©


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