Round-headed, eyes yellow, bill yellow, yellow/green, yellow/black, or yellow/white. Eyebrows distinctive white. Feathers extending from back of eyebrows can be raised, like tufts, when alarmed. True facial disk absent. Head finely spotted. Ventrally, dark mottled head and neck, giving way to white chest, belly, and sides, with vertical brown streaking. Dorsally, dark mottling with conspicuously long tail. Has conspicuous false eyes or eye marks on back of head. SIZE: six to seven inches. WEIGHT: two or three ounces. VOICE: Two songs. One is "Toot, toot, toot
", given rapidly six to eight times. Song is similar to that of the Saw-whet Owl and the two are difficult to distinguish. This song is most often heard in fall, winter, and the early part of the breeding season. The second song, "Toot (pause) toot
", is the typical breeding season call.
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Probably resident year-round, with some elevational movements.
Not well known, most often seen in mixed fir forests, but can be found from river bottoms to timberline.
Small birds, mammals, insects, and probably a few reptiles and amphibians. Small birds may be an important part of its diet.
Begins breeding in April. Nests in woodpecker holes and possibly natural cavities. Clutch size three to five. Incubation not well known, but probably around 25 days. Young fledge at approximately 30 days. Young have been observed in June.