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Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia


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Burrowing Owl
credit: Dori/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Strigidae, Owls view all from this family

Description ADULT Gray-brown overall, but upperparts are beautifully patterned with pale spots (smallest on head), while dark breast is adorned with pale spots and underparts are otherwise pale with strong, brown barring. Facial disc is rounded and dark eyerings and white "eyebrows" frame yellow eyes. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but underparts are mainly pale and unmarked, except for darker chest.

Dimensions Length: 9" (23 cm)

Habitat Fairly common in open habitats, including grassland and deserts; has adapted well to modified landscapes such as golf courses.

Observation Tips Arguably the easiest owl to observe and typically tolerant of people, especially in Florida.

Range Florida, Plains, Great Lakes, California, Western Canada, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Southwest, Texas

Voice Male's typical song is a piping and repeated cu-coo, cu-coo÷. Birds utter soft, screeching calls when alarmed.

Discussion Distinctive owl with a bold nature. Although hunting is mainly nocturnal, often sits or perches conspicuously during daytime, in vicinity of nest or roost burrow. Body is dumpy, head is rounded, and tail is proportionately short. Legs are relatively long and bird often bobs up and down when curious or agitated. Sexes are similar.