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Colombian Screech-owl Megascops colombianus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small range which is suspected to be decreasing owing to habitat loss and a moderately small, declining population. However, this is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. The species is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Taxonomic note
Otus ingens (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into ingens and colombianus and moved to the genus Megascops following SACC (2005).

Otus colombianus BirdLife International (2004), Otus colombianus Stotz et al. (1996), Otus colombianus Collar et al. (1994), Otus colombianus BirdLife International (2000)

Distribution and population
Megascops colombianus is known from the Pacific slope of the West Andes in Colombia and north-west Ecuador (Chocó to Cotapaxi) ( Fitzpatrick and O'Neill 1986, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Parker et al. 1996, Freile and Chaves 1999). It is common at La Planada Nature Reserve (Salaman 1994), but is usually considered uncommon (Ridgely et al. 1998).

Population justification
The population is preliminarily estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals. This requires confirmation.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

It was thought to inhabit montane evergreen forest, but apparently occurs in tall secondary forest, forest edge and open pasture, at 1,250-2,200 m (Parker et al. 1996, Freile and Chaves 1999). Its overall dependence on forest within its life-cycle is unknown.

Deforestation is accelerating within its range, primarily owing to intensive logging, human settlement, cattle-grazing, coca cultivation and gold-mining (Salaman 1994, Dinerstein et al. 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). 

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in a number of small protected areas, and probably in Munchique National Park, Cauca, Colombia and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Esmeraldas, Ecuador (Salaman 1994, Freile and Chaves 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Clarify its ecological and habitat requirements, particularly its dependence on forest. Clarify its presence in Munchique National Park and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and search in other potentially suitable areas. Effectively protect core areas of remaining suitable habitat

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Fitzpatrick, J. W.; O'Neill, J. P. 1986. Otus petersoni, a new screech-owl from the eastern Andes, with systematic notes on O. colombianus and O. ingens. Wilson Bulletin 98: 1-14.

Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen.

Freile, J. F.; Chavas, J. A. 1999. Colombian Screech-owl Otus ingens colombianus. Cotinga 12: 95-96.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J.; Guerrero, M. 1998. An annotated list of the birds of mainland Ecuador. Fundación Ornitológica del Ecuador, CECIA, Quito.

Salaman, P. G. W. 1994. Surveys and conservation of biodiversity in the Chocó, south-west Colombia. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Salaman, P. G. W.; Stiles, F. G. 1996. A distinctive new species of vireo (Passeriformes: Vireonidae) from the Western Andes of Colombia. Ibis 138: 610-619.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Megascops colombianus. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author Traylor, 1952
Population size 6700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 13,700 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species