Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Pacific Screech-owl (Megascops cooperi)


French: Petit-duc de Cooper German: Mangrovekreischeule Spanish: Autillo de manglar

Scops cooperi


, 1878,

Santa Ana, Costa Rica


Generally thought to be closest to M. kennicottii, M. seductus and M. asio. Often treated as a race of M. kennicottii or M. asio, but is vocally distinct from both#R. Race lambi of M. asio previously treated as race of present species; chiapensis poorly differentiated, perhaps only a variant, and possibly not tenable#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. c. chiapensis (R. T. Moore, 1947) – SE Mexico (Chiapas).
  • M. c. cooperi (Ridgway, 1878) – extreme SE Mexico (S Chiapas) to NW Costa Rica (Guanacaste).
  • Descriptive notes

    23–26 cm; 145–170 g. Medium-sized screech-owl with prominent ear tufts, pale grey facial disc with faint dusky rings, bordered by white mixed with dark brown;... read more


    Primary song up to 15 short notes rapidly delivered in series which rises in pitch at middle, then... read more


    Dry woodland, deciduous broadleaf forest, semi-open country with scattered trees and bushes, palms... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little published information. Mostly large insects, such as beetles, katydids, moths; also scorpions, and almost certainly small... read more


    Poorly known. In Oaxaca, nest with 2 half-grown young and 1 addled egg found in late Mar, juvenile seen in May; presumably breeds mainly in... read more


    Resident, but little known.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Considered fairly common to common in most of range, but no information on population size; numbers thought to be stable in... 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). Pacific Screech-owl (Megascops cooperi). 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 12 December 2019).