Balsas Screech Owls

The Balsas Screech Owls (Otus seductus or Megascops seductus) – also known as Western Screech Owls – have a very limited range in central western Mexico, from southern Jalisco and Colima to Western Guerrero. Populations from Colima sometimes are sometimes separated as race colimensis.

They are typically found at low-middle elevations – from 1,800 – 4,500 ft (550 – 1,400 meters), where they inhabit dry thorn forests with scattered trees.


The Balsas Screech-Owl is the largest of all Screech-Owls, measuring about 10.5 inches (~ 27 cm) in length (including the tail) – which is about the size of an American Kestrel.

Similar Species:

It can be differentiated by other screech owls by its brown eyes (irises), which are yellow in other screech owls. Since no other screech owls occur within its range, confusion is unlikely.

Resembles the slightly larger Mottled Owl; however, the Balsas Screech Owl can be identified by its cross barring on the finer chest streaks and its ear tufts.

The Vermiculated Screech Owl also has yellow eyes, but is smaller in size and has different vocalizations that are delivered much faster and at a higher pitch.

Nesting / Breeding

Most nesting activities are observed in June.

Calls / Vocalizations

The Balsas Screech-Owl’s call is described to sound like a “bouncing ball”. Its alarm “scream” call is very bold.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ?????? … Czech: výre?ek colimský, Výrecek Mooruv … Danish: Balsasdværghornugle … Dutch: Balsas-schreeuwuil, Mangrove-schreeuwuil … Estonian: Kõnnupäll … Finnish: Meksikonkirkupöllönen … French: Petit-duc aux yeux bruns, Petit-duc du Balsas … German: Balsakreischeule, Balsaskreischeule, Balsas-Kreischeule … Italian: Assiolo del Balsas, Assiolo di Balsas … Norwegian: Balsasugle … Polish: Syczek samotny … Russian: ????? ???? ???????, ???? ??????? ????? … Slovak: Výrcek balsaský, výr?ek balsaský … Spanish: Autillo de Balsas, Autillo de Balzas, Autillo del Balsas, Lechucita Sabanera, Tecolote del Balsas, Tecolote occidental … Swedish: Balsasskrikdvärguv

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