Costa Rican pygmy owl
Costa Rican Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium costaricanum) on branch.jpg
Savegre Lodge, near San Gerardo, Costa Rica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Glaucidium
G. costaricanum
Binomial name
Glaucidium costaricanum

Robbins & Stiles, 1999

The Costa Rican pygmy owl (Glaucidium costaricanum) is a species of owl in the family Strigidae found in the Talamancan montane forests of Costa Rica and western Panama.

Range and Habitat

The Costa Rican pygmy owl is found in the Talamancan montane forests of Costa Rica and western Panama. This species prefers canopy and edges of highland forests and adjacent habitat, and sometimes even enters pastures and plains with scattered trees.

Habits and Voice

Costa Rican pygmy owls hunt from a low perch in dense forest. They wait for small prey, usually birds close to the owl’s size, small lizards, large insects, and small mammals such as small rodents, but it may occasionally go hunting for Robinson’s mouse opossums. When they locate their prey they strike in a swift flight. If the target is missed, the bird returns to perch rather than pursuing. Like other pygmy owls, they swish their tails from side to side when agitated.

The owls call mainly in early morning, late afternoon and at night with a long, slow song of randomly spaced, clear toots. Sometimes the sounds appear to come in groups of two or three. When excited, the owls give a faster, higher series of five toots.


Pairs of owls nest in old woodpecker holes in March, and the female lays three eggs.

Taxonomic Note

The species was recently split from the Andean pygmy owl, Glaucidium jardanii.


Usually females are larger than males (as is case for most raptors). Their length is about 6 inches, with their weight being 1 3/4 ounces to 3 ounces.