Pygmy owl

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Pygmy owls
Temporal range: Late Pliocene to Recent
Glaucidium capense.jpg
African barred owlet
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Glaucidium
F. Boie, 1826

31,[1] see text.

Guatemalan pygmy owl (left) and red-chested owlet (right); illustration by Keulemans, 1875
Ferruginos pygmy owl

Pygmy owls are members of the genus Glaucidium. They belong to the typical owl family, Strigidae. The genus consists of about 26 to 35 species distributed worldwide. The exact number of species is somewhat disputed.

These are mostly small owls, and some of the species are called "owlets". Most pygmy owl species are nocturnal and hunt mainly large insects and other small prey.

Glaucidium forms a paraphyletic group with Surnia.[2][3]


The supposed prehistoric species "Glaucidium" dickinsoni is now recognized as a burrowing owl, probably a paleosubspecies providentiae. Bones of an indeterminate Glaucidium have been recovered from Late Pliocene deposits in Poland (Mlíkovský 2002).


  1. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Owls". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  2. ^ Nieuwenhuyse Dv, Génot J-C, Johnson DH. 2008. The little owl : Conservation, ecology, and behavior of Athene noctua. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Wink M, El-Sayed AA, Sauer-Gurth H, Gonzalez J. 2009. Molecular phylogeny of owls (Strigiformes) inferred from DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and the nuclear rag-1 gene. Ardea 97(4):581-591.

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