A very small, tame owl of wooded habitats that is active both day and night. Depending on attitude, its staring yellow eyes and prominent arched white eyebrows can impart cuteness or ferocity. Often found perched with tail cocked, and when flushed, typically flies only a short distance on rounded wings. Occurs in two color types, gray and rust. Song is a low whistled “whuh” or “hoo” given in a slow series. Other vocalizations include a high, thin whistled “tsee, tsee-tsee-tsee-tsee-tsee” that grows progressively louder, and a series of high squeaks. No similar species within its range.
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