Western Screech Owl (species: Megascops kennicottii) in Birds of Guatamala (Gaia Guide)
Megascops kennicottii
Western Screech Owl

©Bill Gracey: Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)

©Dominic Sherony: Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)

©Jon Nelson: Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Megascops
Species Megascops kennicottii



Distinguishing features

Females are larger than males and Northern populations are notably larger than Southern races. Adults are larger than Whiskered Screech Owls, with larger feet and a more-streaked plumage pattern.

There are several morphs: brown Pacific, grey Pacific, Great Plains, Mojave, and Mexican. All have either brown or dark gray plumage with streaking on the underparts. There is no red morph.

They have a round head with ear tufts, yellow eyes and a yellowish bill. Their appearance is quite similar to whiskered and Eastern Screech Owls, so it's best to identify them by their calls. (Wikipedia)


  • Up to 26 cm and averaging 22 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Up to 65 cm and averaging 55 cm



Distribution and habitat preferences

The western screech owl is native to Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

Its habitat includes temperate forests, subtropical and tropical montane forests, shrubland, desert, rural fields and even suburban parks and gardens. (Wikipedia)

Audio recordings


This is the "primary" song

© Ted Floyd


This is the "secondary song" (monotone trill, with a break near the beginning)

© Ted Floyd

Web resources