Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Cinnamon Screech-owl (Megascops petersoni)


French: Petit-duc de Peterson German: Zimtkreischeule Spanish: Autillo de Peterson

Otus petersoni

Fitzpatrick and O’Neill

, 1986,

Cordillera del Cóndor, Peru


Probably closest to M. marshalli; alternatively, considered by some to be conspecific with M. ingens or M. colombianus. In the past, on occasion present species and M. marshalli were both included under invalid name M. huberi; this name, originally introduced as a race of M. vermiculatus, is probably unidentifiable; type specimen survives but discoloured and in very poor condition (see HBW 5: 80); possibly diagnosable through DNA sampling, but there would seem little point in attempting to resuscitate an old, largely unused name, known only from a damaged specimen. Specific name sometimes incorrectly spelt peterseni. Monotypic.


SE Ecuador (Cordillera del Cutucú) S on E slope to La Peca (W Amazonas), in NW Peru and NC Colombia (E Andes and Magdalena Valley)#R.

Descriptive notes

c. 21 cm; male 88–119 g (n = 6), female 92–105 g (n = 3). Relatively small screech-owl with small to medium-length ear tufts. Entire plumage... read more


Presumed primary song a rapid series of simple notes, c. 5–7 per second, rising slightly and... read more


Primary cloudforest with dense undergrowth, rich in epiphytes and mosses; also secondary forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Very little information. Diet suspected to consist mostly of insects and other invertebrates, and probably some small vertebrates.


First reported nest found on 12 Jan 2009 in C Andes of Colombia at 1826 m elevation; nest was in natural cavity of a live tree, 0·7... read more


Probably resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Ecuador-Peru East Andes EBA. Very poorly known, and no information on numbers;... 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). Cinnamon Screech-owl (Megascops petersoni). 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 14 December 2019).