Red-chested owlet

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Red-chested owlet
Red-chested owlet (right)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Glaucidium
G. tephronotum
Binomial name
Glaucidium tephronotum
Sharpe, 1875

The red-chested owlet (Glaucidium tephronotum) is a species of owl in the family Strigidae from the rain forests of lowland western Africa. Its habits and behaviour are poorly known.


The red-chested owlet is a very small owl, which has a light grey facial disc with whitish markings and short white eyebrows. The head and neck are dark grey and the back and wings are sooty brown. The long tail has three faint bars, the upper breast and flanks have a reddish-brown wash, while the remainder of the underparts are whitish with rufous streaks on the side of the belly. The iris and bill are yellow.[2] Length is 14 cm (5.5 in) and wingspan is 35 cm (14 in).[3]


The call of the red-chested owlet is a series up to 20 high pitched whistling notes.[3]

Distribution, subspecies and habitat[edit]

There are currently three recognised subspecies of red-chested owlet:[4]

The red-chested owlet inhabits primary rain forest and a mosaic of forest and scrub, as well as clearings and forest edges. It ranges up to 2,150 m (7,050 ft) above sea level.


The red-chested owlet is mainly nocturnal but will hunt and call on overcast afternoons; it roosts in cavities in trees during the day. The main food is insects such as beetles, mantises, grasshoppers, moths and cockroaches, as well as small mammals and birds. Its breeding behaviour is almost unknown but it is thought to nest in the old nesting cavities created by woodpeckers or barbets.[5]

Conservation status[edit]

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the conservation status of the red-chested owlet is of "least concern," as the population is believed to be stable and has a sizable range.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Glaucidium tephronotum". The IUCN red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Profile Red Chested Owlet". Avibirds.Owls. Avibirds. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b Kemp, Alan; Kemp, Meg (1998). SASOL Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands. New Holland. pp. 294–295. ISBN 1 85974 100 2.
  4. ^ "Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum Sharpe, 1875". Avibase. Denis Lepage. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  5. ^ König, Claus; Weick, Friedhelm; Becking, Jan-Hendrick (1999). Owls A Guide to the Owls of the World. Pica Press. pp. 354–355. ISBN 1-873403-74-7.