The Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida; hereafter spotted owl) is discontinuously distributed in the United States and Mexico. It is an understudied raptor and categorized as near threatened, with populations in rapid decline. Defining the distribution of the spotted owl can help delineate priority areas for monitoring and research. Using the Maxent algorithm, with seven climatic variables and 153 owl presence records, we generated the potential distribution of spotted owl in Mexico. Our distribution model had high predictive accuracy and defined potential areas in the Sierra Madre Occidental, Sierra Madre Oriental, and the Transverse Neovolcanic Belt. These areas were concentrated in the states of Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, and Chihuahua, as well as within four protected natural areas. Four weather variables contributed 81.8% to the model's prediction: mean diurnal temperature range (BIO 2, 33.5%), maximum temperature of the warmest month (BIO 5, 30.4%), mean temperature of the coldest quarter (BIO 11, 10.5%) and the amount of precipitation in the wettest month (BIO 13, 7.4%). We recommend population monitoring in areas of climatic suitability predicted by the model to improve knowledge about the status of the Mexican Spotted Owl.
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Vol. 56 • No. 1