Return of Bird of the Week: Austral Pygmy-Owl


WC found it completely by accident. Birding with Marcelo de Cruz in Tierra del Fuego National Park, Marcelo was imitating a pygmy-owl call, a birding technique to make songbirds move where they can be seen. To our surprise, he got an answer. After considerable searching in the soggy thickets of Tierra del Fuego, we found it.

Austral Pygmy-Owl, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Austral Pygmy-Owl, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

You’ll have to look closely. The bird is pretty cryptic, which is important to a daytime ambush hunter. The species is tiny, a male like this is just a bit over six inches long and weighs about two ounces.

This is the southern limit of the species’ range. Actually, it’s the southern limit of most species ranges because it’s the tip of South America. But it is found in southern Chile and fat southwestern Argentina.

Austral Pygmy-Owl, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Austral Pygmy-Owl, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Either Marcelo;s calls were remarkable or there was another bird calling we couldn’t hear, because this little owl was focused on calling, described in the literature as huj-huj-huj-huj-huj-huj. You can listen and decide for yourself.

Luck is a factor in birding and bird photography far more often than birders or bird photographers would like to admit. The trick is to be ready to take advantage of it when it happens.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

 

 

 

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