Unspotted saw-whet owl
Aegolius ridgwayi.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Aegolius
A. ridgwayi
Binomial name
Aegolius ridgwayi

(Alfaro, 1905)

The unspotted saw-whet owl (Aegolius ridgwayi) is a small owl. It is a resident breeder in the highlands of Central America from southern Mexico south to western Panama, mainly at altitudes above 2500 m. It has occasionally been considered conspecific with the northern saw-whet owl. There are currently no recognized subspecies.

This nocturnal bird breeds in open mountain forests, in both the cloud forest and the higher oak woodland, laying its eggs in a tree hole. It hunts rodents, shrews and other small mammals as its main prey, but will also feed on birds, bats and insects.

The unspotted saw-whet owl is a small, dumpy, short-tailed and broad-winged owl, approximately 18 cm long and weighing approximately 80 g. It is dark brown above with white markings on the wings. The underparts are unstreaked buff, becoming darker on the upper chest and facial disc. The head is large, with yellow eyes and a white-edged facial disc. The flight is fluttery and agile.

The voice of the unspotted saw-whet owl is a series of rhythmic toots. Reports of this owl at lower altitudes are invariably due to the extremely similar call of an Anotheca tree frog.

The scientific species name is for the American ornithologist Robert Ridgway.