Passive acoustic monitoring of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Monitoring the vocal behavior of owls is challenging because of their nocturnal habits and limited vocal activity. Here, we evaluated the use of passive acoustic monitoring coupled with automated signal recognition software to monitor the spontaneous vocal activity of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) over a complete annual cycle at five recording stations in the Brazilian Pantanal. The vocal behavior of this species was concentrated during the crepuscular periods, with highest vocal activity in the hours prior to sunrise. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was vocally active throughout the year, but the species showed a peak of activity from June to August. Paired Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl males tend to perform territorial calls less often during the nestling period, which may partly explain the significant decrease in the vocal activity after August. Our results suggest that the breeding period of the species starts in June, and the nesting phase probably occurs from September onwards, when the wet season starts. The first rains in seasonal tropical areas are usually associated with an increase in food availability, which may explain the species´ breeding period onset. Future surveys aiming to monitor the species, avoiding the use of broadcast calls, should be performed before sunrise between June and August, when the vocal activity was maximal.