Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Peruvian Screech-owl (Megascops roboratus)


French: Petit-duc du Pérou German: Buschkreischeule Spanish: Autillo peruano

Otus roboratus

Bangs and Noble

, 1918,

Bellavista, Peru


Has been treated as conspecific with M. choliba, but vocalizations distinct. Smaller race pacificus (originally described as subspecies of M. guatemalae) recently treated as separate species in major works#R#R, hence also in subsequent regional guide#R, on basis of “morphology and vocalisations”, but songs appear identical to those of roboratus#R (this supported by material on xeno-canto and contra some published statements#R) and morphological differences involve much smaller size (based on published data#R), with effect size for weight of males 5.45 (score 3), and “averaging slightly grayer, especially dorsally”#R (1). Nevertheless, size difference unusual and further study, including confirmation of vocal similarities, appropriate. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. r. pacificus (Hekstra, 1982) – Tumbes Screech-owl – SW Ecuador and extreme NW Peru (S to Lambayeque).
  • M. r. roboratus (Bangs & Noble, 1918) – West Peruvian Screech-owl – extreme S Ecuador and NW Peru between W & C Andes (drainage of R Chinchipe and R Marañón).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm, 144–162 g (roboratus); 18–19 cm, 70–90 g (pacificus). Small to medium-sized screech-owl that occurs in grey and rufous... read more


    Typical song of nominate race a trill of equally spaced notes increasing in volume toward the end,... read more


    Dry deciduous woodland with scattered bushes on mountain slopes and in hilly country, mostly at 500... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly studied. Probably largely insectivorous, perhaps almost exclusively so; known to take caterpillars, cockroaches, grasshoppers,... read more


    Nominate race reported to nest in tree cavity and perhaps in old nests of the Pale-legged Hornero (Furnarius leucopus). First nest... read more


    Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Global population size and population trend unknown. Can be very common locally, but overall rare and possibly vulnerable;... 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). Peruvian Screech-owl (Megascops roboratus). 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 29 January 2020).