Two new species of tiny screech owls from the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests in Brazil have been described by science. Prior to the discovery, the new owl species were grouped together with two other South American species, but by closely examining their calls, DNA, and appearance, scientists determined that there were enough differences to classify two new species. Although the owls are new to science, they are at risk of extinction, and will likely be classified as critically endangered. Two new species of tiny screech owls from the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests in Brazil have been described by science. “They’re cute little owls, probably five or six inches long [13-15 centimeters], with tufts of feathers on their heads,” said John Bates, curator of birds at the Field Museum in Chicago and one of the researchers who described the new species in the journal Zootaxa . “Some are brown, some are gray, and some are in between.” The newly described Alagoas screech owl (Megascops alagoensis) from Brazil’s Atlantic forest is thought to be critically endangered. Image by Gustavo Malacco. The discovery was the result of several years of work in forests, natural history collections, and the laboratory, analyzing the black-capped/tawny-bellied […]

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