Koepcke's Screech-Owl

Megascops koepckeae
Population status:
Least Concern
Wingspan:
wing length 173-185 mm (6.8-7.2 in)
Weight:
112-127 g (4-4.5 oz)
Koepcke's Screech-Owl

Fernando Angulo/CORBIDI

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Did You Know?

  • This owl hasn't been well-studied so there is a lot we still don't know about its behavior, diet, or nesting habits.
  • Researchers have only found one nest of this species. It was located in a tall roadcut, instead of a tree cavity. 
  • There are two recognized subspecies of the Koepcke's Screech-Owl

Other Owls

How The Peregrine Fund is Helping

The Peregrine Fund is not working directly with Koepcke's Screech-Owls, but our conservation efforts through habitat protection, education, and community outreach extend to all raptor species, including this owl. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation. And, we support the Neotropical Raptor Network that promotes raptor conservation by helping create collaboration and communication among conservationists in the region.

Where They Live

The Koepcke's Screech Owl is endemic to Peru, meaning it is found in that country and no where else on Earth! This owl is often found in evergreen forests in high elevations, including Polylepis forests and exotic tree plantations, such as eucalyptus. It can also be found in scrubby areas.

What They Do

We don't know very much about the behavior of this lovely owl. Like other screech-owls it is nocturnal, meaning it is active at night. It is described as a vocal species and is often seen in pairs. Like most owls, this owl has a facial disc. The facial disc is composed of many feathers around their heads and helps direct sound to their ears. To get an idea of how it works, cup your hands behind your ears and listen – sounds will be louder and clearer. Owls can raise these feathers slightly when on the hunt, allowing them to hear the rustle of a mouse in the grass, the flapping of feathers in the night, or the slithering of a snake on a tree branch. These sounds give away the location of prey animals, making it easy for these owls to deftly swoop in to catch a meal.

While one might imagine a "screech-owl" to screech, this owl's call is a more distinctive series of short notes. 

Why They Need our Help

Thankfully, the Koepcke's Screech-Owl is categorized as a species of Least Concern. This means that researchers believe its population isn't at too much risk in the foreseeable future. While, it is likely that this species is threatened by habitat loss, it seems that as long as some nesting trees remain, it should do well. 

What They Eat

Unfortunately, not very much is known about the diet of this lovely, little owl. We know it feeds on insects, and also likely eats some small vertebrates, too.

Nests, Eggs, and Young

Just as we know very little about the diet of the Koepcke's Screech-Owl, there is also so much for us to learn about its breeding habits and biology.  Researchers know they generally breed between February and March, and while we don't know for sure, it is likely that this small owl nests in tree cavities. The only nest known to scientists contained two nestlings.

Koepcke's Screech-Owl and the World Center for Birds of Prey

Come to The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey and meet Rusty, our Eastern Screech-Owl, and Winston, our Western Screech-Owl. They are often out greeting visitors during bird presentations and sit comfortably on their handlers' gloves, which allows you to get a close up view of these exceptionally cute raptors.

Additionally, the World Center for Birds of Prey offers fun ways to learn about birds of prey. Interactive activities, tours, interesting videos and a children's room feature activities from coloring sheets to quizzes to costumes. There is also a touch table with owl feathers and other natural objects for exploration.

References:

BirdLife International. 2016. Megascops koepckeaeThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688782A93208561. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22688782A93208561.en. Downloaded on 08 September 2021.

https://ebird.org/species/koesco1

Schulenberg, T. S. (2020). Koepcke's Screech-Owl (Megascops koepckeae), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.koesco1.01