A small, stocky, comparatively long-tailed diurnal owl of western mountains. Adult is reddish-brown overall with a white belly overlaid by black streaks; dark wings, back, breast, and head with yellow spots; blackish tail with white barring; and yellow eyes. Two black patches on back of head act as false eye spots. Inland birds tend to be grayer. Sexes are similar. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl of Southeast Arizona and South Texas is similar, but has streaked crown and reddish bars on tail.
Length: 17 (cm) Wingspan: 30 (cm)
Single toots, equally spaced, sometimes paired, continuing in phrases; also in rapid decelerating series.
Conifer and scrub forest in mountains and adjacent regions. Winters at lower elevations.
Diurnal, especially active at dawn and dusk. Nest is in a tree cavity. Usually seen alone except at nest site.
Hunts from elevated perch with a view of surrounding open ground, then pounces on prey. Eats rodents, birds, and other small animals. Known for being fierce; sometimes takes prey larger than itself.
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