Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Buff-fronted Owl (Aegolius harrisii)


French: Nyctale de Harris German: Blassstirnkauz Spanish: Mochuelo canela

Nyctale Harrisii


, 1849,

South America


Has been suggested that race iheringi may be a full species, but differences from other races appear trivial and characters (including buff edging of scapulars, see HBW 5: 224) variable. Populations of tepuis in S Venezuela and Guyana very poorly known, and not subspecifically determined. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. h. harrisii (Cassin, 1849) – Andes from NW Venezuela S to S Peru#R.
  • A. h. iheringi (Sharpe, 1899) – Bolivia, Paraguay, E Brazil (Ceará to Rio Grande do Sul), S to NE Argentina and NE Uruguay.
  • A. h. dabbenei Olrog, 1979 – NW Argentina (Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy); also (possibly this race) W Bolivia.
  • Also (subspecies unknown) Cerro Neblina and other tepuis in S Venezuela and Guyana.

    Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 104–155 g. Colourful, compact owl, with short tail and large blocky head without ear-tufts. Facial disc outlined in black with buff trim, strongly... read more


    Male song a rapid, wavering trill, “frurururururururu”, lasting 6–10 seconds,... read more


    Recorded from fairly open, humid forest to treeline, but also in drier zones and ravines, and at... read more

    Food and feeding

    Prey remains found in nest cavity included chitin of insects and bones of small rodent. Also recorded taking a bird, a small rodent and a... read more


    Few data. In Brazil, nest with three eggs found in early Mar 6 m above ground in cavity of dead palm, probably an abandoned hole of a... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Formerly considered Near Threatened. Considered generally rare throughout range, but very few data; no estimates of global... 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. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Buff-fronted Owl (Aegolius harrisii). 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 7 December 2019).