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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Bearded Screech-Owl Megascops barbarus

Paula L. Enríquez
Version: 1.0 — Published May 6, 2011


Distribution in the Americas

Breeding range

Resident and endemic species of the northern part of the Neotropics. Distributional range is restricted to the highlands and montane forest of Chiapas, in southern Mexico, (17° 11’ N; 92° 53’ W), south into the highlands of Guatemala (15° 00’ N; 90° 00’ W; Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, Sierra Chuacus, and Sierra de las Minas; Enríquez et al. 1993, Howell and Webb 1995, König and Weick 2008). Recent records in Chiapas have been in Ecological Park San José, Laguna Coche, Dos Lagunas, Mercedes-Bazom, Tzontehuitz, Rancho Nuevo and El Callejón (Enríquez 2007, Enríquez et al. 2010). The nest has been described recently from the the Ecological Reserve Huitepec, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas (Enríquez and Cheng 2008).

The elevational range is from 1800–2500 m, mainly up 2000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1999, König and Weick 2008).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The Bearded Screech-Owl occupies montane forest with a temperate humid climate. Vegetation types where this owl lives are pine-oak humid forest, oak forest and cloud forest (del Hoyo et al. 1999, König and Weick 2008). Tree species in pine-oak forest include Quercus crassifolia, Q. rugosa, Q. laurina, Q. candicas, Q. skutchii, Q. crispipilis, Oreopanax xalapensis, Rapanea juergensenii, Pinus ayacahuite, P. oaxacana, and P. ocarpa, among others. In cloud forest, tree species include Q. laurina, Q. crassifolia, Cleyera theaeoides, Persea americana, Styrax argenteus, Drimys sp., Miconia sp., Oreopanax sp., and Rhamnus sp. (Ramírez-Marcial et al. 1998).

Historical changes

The older specimens collected in Chiapas was in 1955, 12 Km. from San Cristóbal de Las Casas city, municipality Huistán, Chiapas. Other specimens collected in the 60’s to south in Las Margaritas municipality; Finca Patichuiz, 53 km to NE of Las Margaritas (16° 44’N, 91° 47’ W), Chiapas; Camino Chilil (16° 39’N, 92° 34’ W), San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, Chiapas; and Ecological Reserve Huitepec (16°44’ N, 92° 41’ W), San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, Chiapas (Enríquez 2007).

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Bearded Screech-Owl - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Bearded Screech-Owl

Recommended Citation

Enríquez, P. L. (2011). Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.besowl.01