The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
A Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls. We have also put together a list of fun Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl t-shirts, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird watching items.
About Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls
The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a small owl that is found in North America. They breed in south-central Arizona and distributed through Mexico and Central America, to South America falling into Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is the most distributed among other pygmy owls in Central and South America. They are classified as endangered or threatened in the limited range of the US but are still widespread.
Description and Identification
Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are small and stocky in appearance. Their bodies are only 5.9 inches
long, and they have feet and talons that appear disproportionately large for their body. These owls
have an ochre-brown face with darker flecks around it. Their yellow eyes are covered with whitish
eyebrows. Upperparts of Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are mostly reddish-brown with the crown
sporting white streaks. Their wings are covered with white spots, and their underparts are mostly
white in color. Colors of these owls are actually highly variable — they can range from gray-
brown to rich rufous in color. These owls display sexual dimorphism as the females have a more
reddish color and are also slightly larger than the males. The phrases of songs sung by these
owls can have up to 20-30 notes. Their characteristic call is “hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo”.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Color Pattern
The bird’s overall color is highly variable ranging from a gray-brown with a white and black barred tail to a rich rufous coupled with a uniform rufous tail. The color is similar for both sexes but the female appears more reddish.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Size
They are fairly small birds with an average body length of 15cm and a wingspan that range between 37-47cm. They typically weigh between 62-76g with female birds weighing 30% more than males.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Behavior
The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl perches on branches 4-6m above ground but could perch on branches as low as 1m above ground. Their flight is low to the ground and rapid with large swoops when they are targeting prey on the ground.
Birdwatchers can easily locate them by the small birds that mob it while perched upon the tree. They hop from branch to branch or can be seen walking along the ones they are perched on.
They maintain a strict monogamous bond with one another. During courtship, the males call on his mate while advertising for food. They feed them for about 90 days before the female begins nesting.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Food
Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are predators that incorporate a large variety of food in their diet.
Common prey for them are birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and insects. These owls
are known to kill their prey by standing behind them and biting their heads — they are also known
to completely swallow lizards. Ferruginous Pygmy Owls eat only the soft portions of insects and
eat mammals in pieces convenient for them. Crickets, grasshoppers, Texas spotted whiptails, and
six lined race runners are some of the animals these owls commonly consume.
They feed on large insects, small birds, and rodents. Insects vary from beetles, caterpillars, and crickets. Small rodents are mice, voles, and shrews. They also eat frogs and lizards.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Habitat
Ferruginous Pygmy Owls inhabit a variety of habitats in South America and Central America. They
are generally sighted in elevations below 1500m in desert riverine woods, saguaros, mesquite
thickets, forest clearings, parks and gardens, and open lands with thick bushes and mature trees.
These owls prefer semi-deciduous and evergreen forests.
You can find them in mesquite thickets, saguaros, and desert riverine woods. In the tropics, the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl can be found in the semi-open country lowland habitats.
Range and Migration
Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are small owls that are the most widely distributed pygmy owls in South
America and Central America. These owls are also one of the most common owl species in these
regions. The breeding range of these birds begins in south-central Arizona and southern Texas in
America, and extends till Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay in South America. These owls are
permanent residents throughout their extensive range.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Life Cycle
The females lay 3-4 eggs which are entirely incubated by her for 28 days. The young take their first flight 27-30 days after they hatch.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Nesting
Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are monogamous owls that form pairs in the fall. The courtship and
mating behaviors of these owls have not been studied enough to provide suitable data. These
owls nest in cavities found in cacti or trees. Most of these cavities are old woodpecker holes, but
sometimes they can also be made in natural hollows of trees. Ferruginous Pygmy Owls usually
choose sites that are around 10-30 inches off the ground. Females lay 3-5 white eggs in a shallow
depression that is dug at the bottom of the nest. Each egg is laid at intervals of 2 days in between.
Once the final egg is laid, an incubation period of 24-27 days begins. While the females assume
the responsibility of incubation, the males supply them with food. After hatching, the nestlings are
initially fed by the mother. These younglings are cared for by their parents for a period of
approximately 8 weeks after they hatch.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl T-shirts
If you love the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.