Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl
Mostly diurnal. Favours mature highland forest canopy, occasionally to understory after ambushing prey or when bathing, also to forest edge, edge of forest at abrupt drops along mountain river canyons, semi-open habitat and clearings with scattered trees. The Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl might be tiny, but it is fierce hunter, it preys on small vertebrates like mice, lizards, and birds, and large arthropods. Hunts by quickly ambushing prey, birds are typically taken from mixed species flocks, a distracted bird can easily become the owl’s meal, one single strike should produce the kill, otherwise the owl conceals for a while and waits for the agitation of birds to cease. As a defensive strategy, most songbirds cluster to fearlessly mob the perching pygmy-owl until the obfuscated intruder decides to leave. Looking at the tenacious mobbing birds, or listening and tracking its call, a long series of discontinuous toots, might lead to finding the concealed owl.
Most species of owls have flat facial discs and asymmetrical situated ears that enhance their hearing and aid to tracking prey, however the Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl lacks this adaptation which might explain its preferred diurnal behavior and why they rely more on their vision.