Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata)


French: Duc à aigrettes German: Haubenkauz Spanish: Búho corniblanco

Strix cristata


, 1800,

French Guiana


Superficial resemblance to Afrotropical Jubula considered probably due to convergence. N race stricklandi differs from others in having blackish forehead and face with dark rufous around eyes, yellow eyes, and shorter call given at less regular intervals; possibly specifically distinct. Proposed race amazonica subsumed within nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. c. stricklandi P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1859 – Northern Crested Owl – S Mexico to W Panama.
  • L. c. wedeli Griscom, 1932 – E Panama to NC and W Colombia, NW Venezuela and W Ecuador; possibly also N Venezuela (one specimen from Aragua).
  • L. c. cristata (Daudin, 1800) – Southern Crested Owl – the Guianas to N Brazil (W Pará), S through Amazonia to N Bolivia and N Mato Grosso, then W to SW Colombia, E Ecuador and E Peru#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; 400–620 g. Highly distinctive; polymorphic. Pale morph with facial disc tawny to chestnut, white eyebrows continuing into very long, mostly white ear... read more


    Song a frog-like croak and a deep, purring growl “k,k,k’k’k’kkrrrrrr... read more


    Humid forest, tall second growth, gallery woodland and heavy forest; roosts by day in dense... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily large insects (beetles, orthopterans, caterpillars); less commonly some small vertebrates; in Brazil, two cases of owl... read more


    Very poorly known. Said to lay Feb–May, in dry to early wet season. Nest in hole of mature tree; report of nesting in loft of house.... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Very poorly known, and no reliable quantitative data on population level; considered uncommon to fairly common in Mexico;... 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). Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata). 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).