Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Rufescent Screech-owl (Megascops ingens)


French: Petit-duc de Salvin German: Salvinkreischeule Spanish: Autillo pálido
Other common names: Chapman's Screech-owl (“aequatorialis”), Least Screech-owl (“minimus”)

Scops ingens


, 1897,

Jima, Ecuador


Relationships uncertain. Often considered to include M. colombianus as a race; sometimes treated as conspecific with M. petersoni. Forms described from E Ecuador (aequatorialis) and Bolivia (minimus), now thought to represent individual variation, are synonymized with nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. i. venezuelanus (Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1954) – N Colombia and NW Venezuela.
  • M. i. ingens (Salvin, 1897) – Andes from SW Colombia S on E slope to C Bolivia#R.
  • Perhaps further, as yet undescribed, races from W Venezuela (Cerro Guacamayo) and N Colombia (Santa Marta Mts).

    Descriptive notes

    25–28 cm; male 134–180 g, female 140–223 g. Large, rather uniform-looking screech-owl with small ear tufts, large brown eyes. Occurs in brown and rufous... read more


    Primary song a long rapid series of “tu” notes, c. 50 in 10 seconds; secondary song an... read more


    Dense, humid cloudforest and scrub on steep Andean slopes, primary forest edge, forest fragments,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly known. Presumed to take primarily insects and other invertebrates, and also small vertebrates. Strictly nocturnal. Apparently... read more


    No reliable information. Like other congeners, suspected to nest in natural cavities and old woodpecker holes in trees.


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Status is uncertain, and species little known; may be rare, unless overlooked. No estimates of numbers or data on... 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). Rufescent Screech-owl (Megascops ingens). 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 27 February 2020).