Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Bare-legged Screech-owl (Margarobyas lawrencii)


French: Petit-duc de Cuba German: Kubaeule Spanish: Autillo cubano
Other common names: Cuban Screech-owl, Bare-legged Owl, Cuban Bare-legged Owl

Gymnoglaux lawrencii

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1868,

Remedios, Cuba


In past, often placed in Otus, and still placed in Gymnoglaux by some authors#R#R. Earlier suggestion that this species is close to Puerto Rican Megascops nudipes considered unacceptable#R; separated from latter at genus level by very different morphology and vocal patterns. Has been thought possibly related to Athene. Birds from W Cuba and I of Pines sometimes separated as race exsul, but apparently indistinguishable from those in rest of range. Monotypic.


Cuba and I of Pines.

Descriptive notes

20–23 cm; 80–111 g. Rather small, with large head lacking ear-tufts. Facial disc creamy-white with broad dark rim, long white eyebrows; upperparts brown,... read more


Male song a low, accelerating “cu-cu-cu-cucucuk” in bouncing-ball rhythm, rising slightly at end,... read more


Wooded areas, mixed forest of palm (especially Sabal maritima), tropical semi-deciduous... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly large insects and other invertebrates, but also frogs, snakes and, rarely, birds. Hunts from perch and on ground.


Very little published information. Season Jan–Jun. Nest in tree cavity, including old woodpecker holes, sometimes in cave or... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Considered fairly common or common, and widely distributed, but no information on numbers or population trends; rare on... read more

Recommended citation

Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Bare-legged Screech-owl (Margarobyas lawrencii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 December 2019).