Adults occur in two color morphs, in either brown or dark grey plumage. They have a round head with ear tufts, yellow eyes, and a yellowish bill. This owl looks very similar to the Western Screech Owl, but has heavier barring on the breast, and is slightly smaller in size.
Range and Habitat
The Whiskered Screech Owl's range extends from southeastern Arizona (the Madrean Sky Islands region) in the United States, southwards through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, to north central Nicaragua. Their breeding habitat is dense coniferous or oak woodlands, and coffee plantations usually occurring at higher elevations than the Western Screech Owl.
These birds wait on a perch and swoop down on prey; they also capture targeted food items in flight. They mainly eat small mammals and large insects, with grasshoppers, beetles, moths making up a large portion of their diet. They are active at night or near dusk, using their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey.
Their most common call is a series of about 8 regularly spaced “boo” notes, slightly higher in the middle, slightly lower at each end.
3 to 4 eggs are usually laid in April or May, usually found in a tree cavity or old woodpecker hole 5 to 7 meters above the ground.