Burrowing Owl

Other Names:

Billy Owls, Ground Owls, Long-legged Owls, Prairie Owls and Prairie Dog Owls
 

Burrowing Owl USA Distribution MapDistribution / Range & Status

The Burrowing Owls are widespread throughout grassland habitats, from North America where their range stretches from southern portions of western and central Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) south through western and central United States. Populations also exist in Louisiana and Florida, and the Caribbean islands.

Their range extends south through the western parts of Central America reaching as far south as southern Argentina. Their distribution in South America is patchy in the northwest through the Andes; but they are widely distributed from southern Brazil to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Burrowing Owl Family at Burrow (Athene cunicularia)

Burrowing Owl Description

The average Burrowing Owl is slightly larger than an American Robin or about the size of a Meadowlark. They generally measure between 8.5 - 11 inches (21.6 - 28 cm); have a wingspan of 20 - 24 inches (50.8 - 61 cm); and weigh 6 - 7.5 oz (170.1 - 214 g).

Depending on the subspecies, the color of the bill ranges from dark yellow, yellowish to light greyish; and the markings on the chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring.

The brown-colored head is round, with a flattened facial disc. They have prominent white eyebrows and a prominent white "chin" stripe that they expand and display during certain behaviors, such as a head bobbing when agitated.

The most unique physical feature is the length of their yellow legs, which separates them from other small owls. They also lack the ear tufts of most other owls. The wings are brown with white spotting. The upper plumage is barred; while other small owl species have a streaked upper plumage.

Avianweb Species Page

Species image
Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl - Tsawwassen, BC, Canada

Description
One of my best finds and couldn't tell anyone at the time. This fantastic little owl was along the Tswwassen Ferry Jetty a couple weeks back. I have traveled back several times and could not relocate him. I have also sent along the band numbers to the correct authorities and it turns out this male was born in the wild and has had numerous chicks since, in the interior of British Columbia. I would recommend looking into the Burrowing Owl Society of BC and maybe putting a donation towards keeping these fantastic owls from disappearing for good......... again. My apologies to the rest of the birders that would have like to have seen this guy. He was just too close to traffic and I didn't want to be the reason he didn't make it back next spring. Michael Klotz - www.TheBirdBlogger.com
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Burrowing Owl - Tsawwassen, BC, Canada

Burrowing Owl

Bill Shape
hooked
Regions
alabama
alberta
arizona
arkansas
baja california
british columbia
california
colorado
connecticut
florida
georgia
idaho
illinois
indiana
iowa
kansas
louisiana
manitoba
maryland
massachusetts
mexico
michigan
mississippi
missouri
montana
nebraska
nevada
new brunswick
new hampshire
new mexico
new york
north carolina
north dakota
ohio
oklahoma
ontario
oregon
quebec
rhodeisland
saskatchewan
south carolina
south dakota
texas
utah
virginia
washington
wisconsin
wyoming
Tail Shape
notched-tail
Wing Shape
long-wings
Sounds
hooting
Habitat
agricultural
Deserts
Forests
Grasslands
Color
brown
gray
Body Shape
owl
Size
medium
Order
true owls, typical owls - strigidae
typical owls and barn owls - strigiformes
typical owls, "earless owls" - strix
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Bird Species