The Whiskered Screech Owl is another owl species you might spot in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Other common names include the Arizona Whiskered Owl, Spotted Screech-Owl and Whiskered Owl.
The ear tufts on the Whiskered Screech Owl are distinctive and pronounced, appearing like accent marks over the eyes. The mottled appearance comes from patterning of brown and gray bars on the upperparts. The undersides are barred in white. The name comes from the long whiskers on the face, must longer and denser than other screech owl species.
This owl does make the traditional hooting sound, softer than other hooting owls, and interspersed with long and short notes. Some people describe their calls as Morse Code-like.
All three species of screech owls are similar in appearance, making their calls the best way to discern which one is which.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999;whatbird.com