Colombian Screech-owl Megascops colombianus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range which is suspected to be decreasing owing to habitat loss and a moderately small, declining population. However, this is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. The species is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population is preliminarily estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals. This requires confirmation.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Megascops colombianus is known from the Pacific slope of the West Andes in Colombia and north-west Ecuador (Chocó to Cotapaxi) ( Fitzpatrick and O'Neill 1986, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Parker et al. 1996, Freile and Chaves 1999). It is common at La Planada Nature Reserve (Salaman 1994), but is usually considered uncommon (Ridgely et al. 1998).


It was thought to inhabit montane evergreen forest, but apparently occurs in tall secondary forest, forest edge and open pasture, at 1,250-2,200 m (Parker et al. 1996, Freile and Chaves 1999). Its overall dependence on forest within its life-cycle is unknown.


Deforestation is accelerating within its range, primarily owing to intensive logging, human settlement, cattle-grazing, coca cultivation and gold-mining (Salaman 1994, Dinerstein et al. 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in a number of small protected areas, and probably in Munchique National Park, Cauca, Colombia and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Esmeraldas, Ecuador (Salaman 1994, Freile and Chaves 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Clarify its ecological and habitat requirements, particularly its dependence on forest. Clarify its presence in Munchique National Park and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and search in other potentially suitable areas. Effectively protect core areas of remaining suitable habitat


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Megascops colombianus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020.