Facts about Coastal Screech Owl, The Coastal Screech Owl was only recently identified as its own species. Its scientific classification has varied over the past century. The formal scientific name for the Coastal Screech Owl species is Megascops pacificus. The Coastal Screech Owl is also known as the Tumbes Screech Owl, West Peruvian Screech-Owl, and Megascops roboratus pacificus. It can be called Otus guatemalae pacificus and considered a subspecies of M. guatemalae. The Otus genus was once classified as part of the Megascops genus.
The species was first described in 1982 by Gerrit Hekstra.
Physical Description of Coastal Screech Owls
The Coastal Screech Owl has a dark crown and small ear tufts. Adolescents have a reddish or rufous tint. Adults have grey and brown coloring. The Coastal Screech Owl has a dark covert without any bars. The Coastal Screech Owl's breasts have streaks with wide cross-bars. This coloring allows the owl to blend in with tree bark.
Coastal Screech Owls have a fine facial rim. The Coastal Screech Owl has a dark grey, curved bill. The Coastal Screech Owl has dark grey toes. The eyes are yellow. The Coastal Screech Owl is around seven inches () tall. The Coastal Screech Owl is 70 to 90 grams or 2.4 to 3.2 ounces in weight, whereas Megascops roboratus, the Peruvian Screech Owl, is much heavier, coming in at 150 grams or 5.3 ounces. Like other screech owls, the females are larger and heavier than the males.
They have a good sense of hearing.
The Coastal Screech Owl shares its range with the Peruvian Screech Owl, Peruvian Pygmy Owl and Maria Keopcke Screech Owl. The Coastal Screech Owl is smaller than the Peruvian Screech Owl, though they have similar coloring. The Coastal Screech Owl has a shorter tail than the Peruvian Screech Owl. The Maria Keopcke Screech Owl is larger, may or may not have a white fringe around its dark crown and has a coarser pattern.
Behavior of Coastal Screech Owls
The Coastal Screech Owl is strictly nocturnal.
The Coastal Screech Owl species probably nests in tree holes like its relatives. Its habitat includes scattered groups of trees. It may nest in holes in cactus.
The Coastal Screech Owl species is probably an insectivore like its closest relatives, feeding on insects like caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles. Members of the Megascops group tend to carry the prey to a perch before eating it. They use their bills to tear into the prey to eat them.
The Coastal Screech Owl is resident to its territory and does not migrate.
The Coastal Screech Owl's call is similar to that of Megascops roboratus. Its song is usually a harsh rising trill.
Habitat of Coastal Screech Owls
The Coastal Screech Owl lives in the dry habitats, the dry open scrub areas on the drier coastal plains, and foothills. It is not found above 1,500 feet (457 meters).
The Megascops roboratus species is able to survive in subtropical and tropical dry forests as well as degraded former forest. It is not known if the Coastal Screech Owl can remain in degraded former forest that is turning into grassland or been cleared by loggers.
Range of Coastal Screech Owl
The Coastal Screech Owl is found along the Pacific coast of Peru. The Coastal Screech Owl is found from southwest Ecuador to northwest Peru, in the Tumbes department (state), hence the name.
The Coastal Screech Owl species is considered common locally and not considered threatened, but the actual population number and density are not known. The related West Peruvian Screech Owl species is not considered threatened or a matter of concern by the IUCN.
Trivia of Coastal Screech Owls
Megascops pacificus and Megascops roborates were previously considered one species. That species, scientific name Otus roboratus, was identified back in 1918.