The Whiskered Screech-Owl
A Whiskered Screech-Owl is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Whiskered Screech-Owls. We have also put together a list of fun Whiskered Screech-Owl t-shirts, Whiskered Screech-Owl bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Whiskered Screech-Owls
The Whiskered Screech-Owl is a small owl in the family that is native to North America. They are common in the northern regions and Central America distributed through the southeasternmost of Arizona in the United States, through to North Central Nicaragua. The bird is locally stable and common but in limited ranges in the United States.
Description and Identification
These small screech owls are 6.3-7.9 inches long, and they have an average wingspan of 17.5
inches. Whiskered screech owls display sexual dimorphism as females are larger than males, and
their plumages are also darker. These owls have distinctly visible ear-tufts, feathered toes, and
yellow-olive bills. Whiskered screech owls have two morphs; the rufous morph, and the grey
morph. Rufous morphs are generally more common in Central America, and Grey morphs occur
frequently in the rest of their range. Other screech owl species share many similarities with these
owls, but almost all of them are significantly larger in size. These birds have earned their name due
to the unique extensions of feathers on their face which have a whisker-like appearance.
Whiskered screech owls have orangish irides and greyish-olive claws. Juveniles look similar to adults, but their plumages lack the texture of the adult plumages. Younglings are generally duller
than the adult. Whiskered screech owls have a distinct call, which is basically a number of “boos”
uttered in regular intervals. The pitch of this call increases towards the middle of it, then drops
down again towards the end. When irritated or threatened these owls make a loud, harsh
Whiskered Screech-Owl Color Pattern
The Whiskered Screech-Owl occurs in two shades. It can either be with a dark gray or brown plumage. Their eyes are yellow with a dark pupil fixed on their round heads with ear tufts. The owl is somehow similar to the Western Screech-Owl but the only difference is that it has heavier barring on the breast.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Size
They are a fairly small bird when compared to other birds in the family. They have a body length spanning 18-19cm with a wingspan ranging between 16-20 inches. The bird has a bodyweight of between 85-98g.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Behavior
The Whiskered Screech-Owl is common to wait on the porch before they swoop to the ground to capture prey. They can also target food mid-air and are most active at night and near dusk. They also have excellent hearing and night vision capabilities to assist in locating prey at night.
Like most owls, the male also feeds the female during courtship. They do this by making calls to the female before perching next to them and offering them the food.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Food
Whiskered Screech-Owls mainly consume arthropods, small mammals, and insects such as moths,
beetles, crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers. These owls are nocturnal hunters that hunt during
dusk, or at night. Whiskered screech owls take advantage of their brilliant hearing and vision to
locate their prey from the air. These birds seek their prey while perched atop tree branches, or
while flying around. Whiskered screech owls mostly carry prey in their bills, and sometimes they
hold prey with their feet. Unwanted parts of their food items are carefully removed before these
owls begin eating. Whiskered screech owls might carry large insects and eat them over a period of
They mostly diet on large insects like caterpillars, crickets, moths, beetles, and katydids. The owl also forages for arthropods like centipedes and scorpions. The Whiskered Screech-Owl will sometimes eat small rodents.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Habitat
Whiskered screech owls breed in elevations of 3250-9500 feet in wet woodlands, evergreen
woodlands, and mixed coniferous and coniferous forests. These birds reside in higher elevations
than their relatives,” Western screech owls”. These birds nest in or around dense foliage as this
habitat is the most suitable for feeding.
The Whiskered Screech-Owl can be found in pine-oak woods, canyons, and sycamores. They favor habitats with dense, wide-leafed oaks in both mixed and pure stands. They nest in woodpecker holes 5-7 meters above the ground.
Range and Migration
Whiskered screech owls are small owls that are widespread in North and Central America. The
northernmost portion of the breeding range of these birds is in southern Arizona. This range
extends southwards through Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras towards central Nicaragua in
Central America. Whiskered screech owls are permanent residents that may make altitudinal
adjustments seasonally. During winters, these owls tend to move down to lower elevations.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Life Cycle
The Whiskered Screech-Owl has a lifespan of about 3-7 years in the wild but may live longer in captivity. The female lays 3-4 eggs though, their incubation period may not be clear. The parents may continue to feed the young for a few weeks after they leave the nest.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Nesting
Whiskered screech owls are mostly monogamous, but polygyny is not very uncommon. Pair bonds
formed by these owls generally last for one breeding season. Whiskered screech owls usually do
not reuse the same nesting sites. It’s assumed that the nesting sites are chosen by females in
regions that have dense vegetation. Like other owls, these birds don’t choose their own nesting
sites — instead, they nest in natural cavities such as woodpecker holes. On average, Whiskered
screech Owls lay about 3 eggs per clutch. Eggs are incubated solely by the females.
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 Whiskered Screech-Owls
The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Whiskered Screech-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.
Whiskered Screech-Owl T-shirts
If you love the Whiskered Screech-Owl you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Whiskered Screech-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 Whiskered Screech-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.
Whiskered Screech-Owl Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Whiskered Screech-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 Whiskered Screech-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 Whiskered Screech-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.