Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Koepcke's Screech-Owl Megascops koepckeae

Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 1.0 — Published February 5, 2016


Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Geographic Variation

Two subspecies recognized:

koepckeae, described as Otus choliba koepkei Hekstra 1982; type locality Quebrada Yanganuco [Llanganuco], near Yungai [Yungay], Ancash, Peru, 4000 m. The holotype is in the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH 802425) (Greenway 1987, Browning 1989). This taxon was named in honor of Maria Koepcke (Hekstra 1982), hence the epithet is spelled koepckeae (Greenway 1987). First recognized as a species by Marshall and King (1988).

Nominate koepckeae occurs along the west slope of the Andes in Lambayeque, Cajamaraca, La Libertad, Ancash, and Lima, and in the Utcubamba Valley, in the Marañón drainage, in Amazonas (Hekstra 1982, Schulenberg et al. 2010, Fjeldså et al. 2012).

See Detailed Description.

hockingi, described as Megascops koepckeae hockingi Fjeldså, Baiker, Engblom, Franke, Geale, Krabbe, Lane, Lezama, Schmitt, Williams, Ugarte-Núñez, Yábar, and Yábar 2012; type locality C'onoq [Cconoc] at Río Apurímac, Apurímac, Peru; 1925 m

This taxon is named after Pedro Hocking, "in honour of his life-long efforts to document the Peruvian avifauna, notably the poorly explored forests of the central Peruvian Andes".

Subspecies hockingi occurs in south central Peru in the dry intermontane valleys of southern Junín and in Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and Apurímac, and in western Cuzco.

The song of hockingi is longer and higher pitched than the song of nominate koepckeae (see Vocalizations), and generally inhabits drier forests. In terms of plumage, hockingi is grayer than nominate koepckeae, with more sparely marked lower underparts (Fjeldså et al. 2012).

Related Species

Relationships within the genus Megascops were clarified by a phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes (Dantas et al. 2016). These authors identified a two major clades of Megascops, one composed of only five species, and the second clade encomassing the remainder of the genus. The smaller of these two clades is composed of two subclades, one with three South American species (koepckeae, Megascops choliba Tropical Screech-Owl, and Megascops albogularis White-throated Screech-Owl), and one with two Central American species (Megascops trichopsis Whiskered Screech-Owl and Megascops clarkii Bare-shanked Screech-Owl). The sister species of koepckeae is Megascops choliba.

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. (2016). Koepcke's Screech-Owl (Megascops koepckeae), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.koesco1.01