Seeing Bearded Screech-Owl Megascops barbarus in Guatemala with CAYAYA BIRDING

Bearded Screech-Owl in Guatemala
Female rufous morph Bearded Screech-Owl Megascops barbarus showing her long whiskers.

Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus), sometimes also called Bridled Screech-Owl or Santa Barbara Screech-Owl, is endemic to the Atlantic slope highlands of Guatemala and the neighboring Mexican state of Chiapas. The first specimen collected in the mid 19th century was at first misidentified as Flammulated Owl, but later in 1868 recognized as a brown morph individual of a new species, then called Scops barbarus. Intermediatly it was also placed in the genus Otus.

Bearded Screech-Owl with larvae
A rufous morph female Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus) preying on an insect larva.

Bearded Screech-Owl is the smallest of the screech-owls and occurs as rufous, gray, and intermediate brown morphs. It feeds on insects and vertebrates such as rodents and small birds. This owl occurs locally in humid high-elevation pine-oak forest. Knut Eisermann and Claudia AvendaƱo of CAYAYA BIRDING have been studying the distribution and natural history of Bearded Screech-Owl in Guatemala since 2009.

juvenile Bearded Screech-Owl
Juvenile Bearded Screech-Owls (Megascops barbarus) of the rufous morph in the highlands of Guatemala.

Get in touch to organize your tour for watching Bearded Screech-Owl and other regional endemic birds in Guatemala.

gray morph Bearded Screech-Owl
Gray morph female Bearded Screech-Owls (Megascops barbarus) showing that some bird book's note of this species having very small ear tufts should not be taken too seriously 😉 ...
rufous morph Bearded Screech-Owl
... the same is true for this rufous morph female Bearded Screech-Owls (Megascops barbarus) 😉 ... seen in the highlands of Guatemala.

Photographs of Bearded Screech-Owl seen during
CAYAYA BIRDING tours in Guatemala

Pair of rufous morph female and brown morph male Bearded Screech-Owls Male rufous morph Bearded Screech-Owl Bearded Screech-Owl watching out for prey Female brown morph Bearded Screech-Owl Grim look of a rufous morph male Bearded Screech-Owl Male Bearded Screech-Owl of rufous morph Juvenile brown morph Bearded Screech-Owl Bearded Screech-Owl showing long whiskers Bearded Screech-Owl in hunting mode Calling male Bearded Screech-Owl Pair of rufous morph male and brown morph female Bearded Screech-Owls gray morph male Bearded Screech-Owl rufous morph male Bearded Screech-Owl male brown morph Bearded Screech-Owl male brown morph Bearded Screech-Owl day-dreaming Bearded Screech-Owl

Start here planning your birding trip to Guatemala:

juvenile Bearded Screech-Owl
Juvenile brown morph Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus) in the highlands of Guatemala.

Contributions by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING to the knowledge about Bearded Screech-Owl

  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2018) An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2017) The owls of Guatemala. 447-515 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Neotropical owls: diversity and conservation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
  • Enríquez, P. L., K. Eisermann, H. Mikkola & J. C. Motta-Junior (2017) A review of the systematics of Neotropical owls (Strigiformes). 7-19 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Neotropical owls: diversity and conservation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2015) Los búhos de Guatemala. 381-434 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Los búhos neotropicales: diversidad y conservación. ECOSUR, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.
  • Eisermann, K., C. Avendaño & P. Tanimoto (2013). Birds of the Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area, Quiché, Guatemala. Cotinga 35: 81-93.
  • Eisermann, K. (2011) Conservation status of Bearded Screech-owl Megascops barbarus. Unpublished communication to BirdLife International. Proeval Raxmu, Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. (Base for an upgrade from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in the IUCN/BirdLife International Red List of worldwide threatened bird species in 2012)
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Guatemala. Pp. 235-242 In: C. Devenish, D. F. Diaz Fernández, R. P. Clay, I. Davidson & I. Y. Zabala (eds.) Important Bird Areas Americas, priority sites for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series 16. Birdlife International, Quito, Ecuador.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Conservation priority-setting in Guatemala through the identification of Important Bird Areas. Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, Tundra to Tropics: 315-327.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala - Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
  • More about our bird research in Guatemala.

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