Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum) 6 inches long

CFP Owl, photo by Mike Wrigley, USFWS

Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
both photos by Mike Wrigley, USFWS

Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, by Mike Wrigley, USFWSThis small owl with a wingspan of about 15 inches is common and widespread in the American tropics. It enters the U.S. only in southern Texas and Arizona, where it is uncommon. Unlike many owls it is active by day, preying on insects, birds, rodents and lizards. It has a large rounded head, yellow eyes and a crown flecked with white. The underside is rusty brown, and both sexes have the same appearance. United States range includes southern Arizona and Texas, seems to be year-round resident throughout its range.


Alderfer, Jonathan (ed.). Field Guide to Birds: Arizona and New Mexico. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006. This handy, pocket-size (4x6) guide includes most of the birds you're likely to see in Arizona. In addition to a photo, it includes information about behavior, habitat and specific local sites where you are likely to find the bird.

Barlowe, Dot. The Sonoran Desert by Day and Night: A Dover Coloring Book. New York: Dover Publications Pictorial Archive Series, 2002.

Cameron, Angus. The Nightwatchers. New York: Four Winds Press, 1971. Unfortunately this book seems to be out of print. It contains charming write-ups of the author's personal experiences with owls and wonderful drawings by Peter Parnall of the birds in their natural settings. It is worth looking for if you can find it in your library or used book store.

Corman, Troy E. and Cathryn Wise-Gervais (eds.) Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

Johnsgard, Paul A. North American Owls: Biology and Natural History (Second Edition). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.