Eastern Screech-owl Megascops asio


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number 560,000 mature individuals (Partners in Flight 2019).

Trend justification
This species has been declining over the last 50 years in North America (47% decline between 1966 and 2015 based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey [Sauer et al. 2017], or 41% decline between 1970 and 2014 based on Partners in Flight [A. Panjabi in litt. 2017]). Data from the Audubon Christmas Bird Count report a decline in the U.S.A., where the majority of the population occurs, while the much smaller population in Canada was found to be increasing (Meehan et al. 2018). A remote-sensing study found that forest loss within its range over the last three generations was potentially 12% (Tracewski et al. 2016).

Distribution and population

Occurs in eastern North America, from Canada, through the USA and down into Mexico.


Occurs in natural woodland and wooded suburban and urban habitats (Holt et al. 2019).


Text account compilers
Smith, D., Hermes, C., Ekstrom, J., Palmer-Newton, A., Butchart, S.

Panjabi, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Megascops asio. Downloaded from on 23/04/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/04/2021.