Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Eurasian Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium passerinum)


French: Chevêchette d’Europe German: Sperlingskauz Spanish: Mochuelo alpino

Strix passerina


, 1758,



Sometimes considered to form a species-group with G. brodiei and G. perlatum, and New World G. gnoma (with recently separated G. cobanense and G. hoskinsii) and G. californicum, but DNA evidence shows that present species and G. californicum are not closely related. Race orientale intergrades with nominate in W Siberia and Altai Mts. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. passerinum (Linnaeus, 1758) – Scandinavia and mountains of S, C & E Europe E across NW & C Russia to C Siberia (upper R Yenisey).
  • G. p. orientale Taczanowski, 1891 – C & E Siberia to Sakhalin and NE China (N Heilongjiang).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–19 cm; wingspan 34–36 cm; male 47–72 g, female 67–83 g. Tiny, small-headed owl with bounding and dashing flight. Dimorphic, with brown and grey... read more


    Male's song a series of flute-like “deu” notes, repeated monotonously 5–10... read more


    Open coniferous and mixed forest: found in taiga and montane forest, mainly coniferous, sometimes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small mammals, especially voles (Microtinae), and small birds. In S Finland, during breeding season, voles comprised 58·7% of diet... read more


    Season Apr–Jul. Monogamous; pair-bond lasts 1 season, though sometimes renewed after temporary severance in late autumn; pair-bonding... read more


    Mainly resident. In winter, may shift to broadleaved mixed woodland with some conifers or to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. In Fennoscandia, breeding densities and numbers fluctuate markedly with weather conditions and rodent cycles: in mid-1990s... 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. (2020). Eurasian Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium passerinum). 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 21 January 2020).