Puerto Rican Screech Owls or Mucaro

The Puerto Rican Screech Owl (Megascops nudipes) or Múcaro (Spanish via Taino) is found on the islands of Puerto Rico.

It is fairly common on the main island, but has become extinct on the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra, due to deforestation and loss of habitat.

It inhabits forests with large hollowed trees, including the Caribbean National Forest.des Oiseaux as Otus nudipes.

The species scientific name, nudipes, makes reference to its bare legs and toes.

Recognized Species & ID

M. n. nudipes (François Marie Daudin, 1800) – Nominate Race

Range: Occurs naturally on the mainland

M. n. newtoni (Lawrence, 1860) – Considered extinct. This subspecies , was locally referred to as the “Cuckoo Bird” – named so for its call.

Range: Formerly found on the Virgin Islands.


The Puerto Rican Screech Owl is a small owl, measuring from 23 to 25 cm in length. Males weigh about 137 g and females 143 g. The females are slightly larger than males. Other than that, males and females look alike.

The upper plumage is brown. Below they are light brown to white with brown lines. It has white eyebrows.

More Owl Information

Breeding / Nesting

Most breeding activities occur between April to June. They nest in hollowed trunks. The average clutch consist of 1 or 2 eggs.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on large insects and to a lesser extent small birds, geckos and small rodents.

Calls / Vocalizations

Their calls are described as loud coo-coo calls.

Photo of author

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