Pygmy-owl call (two phrases) - Nueva Becal
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The Ferruginous Pygmy-owl's call is a long series of repeated hollow whistles which can be easily imitated by humans. Howell and Webb (1995) claim that calls may sometimes end with a series of "high, yelping twitters" while Stiles & Skutch (1989) suggest a "sharp bark or whinny" terminates some calls.
Each of the short identical syllables is an upslurred whistle, rising from 1170 to 1320 Hz. Syllables are repeated in long phrases at a rate of approximately three per second. Davis (1972) reports that one phrase may contain from 10 to 60 syllables, although I recorded one phrase that contained only four (N = five songs from one individual in Nueva Becal).
Pygmy-owl calls elicit a strong mobbing response from many passerines, including many warblers and vireos. Imitation of this vocalization often attracts more small passerines than pishing does.
Ferruginous Pygmy-owls were heard very frequently in both thick forests and shrubby woodlands, often calling from within the thickest foliage.
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All information and photographs copyright Daniel J. Mennill 1999.
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