East Brazilian pygmy owl
Glaucidium minutissimum 1838.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Glaucidium
G. minutissimum
Binomial name
Glaucidium minutissimum

(Wied-Neuwied, 1821)
  • Glaucidium sicki
  • Strix pumila Temminck, 1821
  • Strix minutissima (Wied),1830

The East Brazilian pygmy owl (Glaucidium minutissimum), also known as least pygmy-owl or Sick’s pygmy-owl, is a small owl in the typical owl family.


It has been argued that the here used scientific name actually belongs to the Pernambuco pygmy owl, in which case the East Brazilian pygmy owl should be referred to G. sicki (König & Weick, 2005). This has not gained widespread recognition.

Formerly, this species included the Colima pygmy owl, Tamaulipas pygmy owl, Central American pygmy owl, subtropical pygmy owl, and Baja pygmy owl as subspecies.


This species has a very large range. It can be found in eastern Brazil, in far eastern Paraguay, in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Peru.


Glaucidium minutissimum. Museum specimen

It inhabits tropical and subtropical moist evergreen forests and edges as well as open bush canopy.


It is one of the smallest South American owls, averaging at 55 grams (1.9 oz) and 15 cm (6 in). Wing length can reach 85–91 millimetres (3.3–3.6 in), while the tail can reach a length of 49–54 millimetres (1.9–2.1 in). The head is rounded, with no ear tufts. The pale greyish-brown facial disk is not pronounced and shows some rufous concentric lines. The eyes are yellow, with whitish eyebrows. The upper part of the body is relatively dark, rufous-brown with small white spots. Wings are dark brown and relatively short. The tail is dark brown with five pale bars. The lower part of the body is light gray or white, with reddish-brown stripes. The throat shows a rounded whitish area. The legs are feathered, with bristled and yellowish toes. Claws are horn with dark tips. The beak is yellow-green.


The East Brazilian pygmy owl mainly feeds on small insects and sometimes catch small vertebrates. It is active at dusk and dawn, but occasionally hunts during the day. Song of the male is two-four long notes separated by short pauses.