Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Status

Endangered

Description

The Burrowing Owl averages 24 cm in length with a round head and long legs. Adults have an aggressive look with yellow eyes, white eyebrows and a white throat. The Burrowing Owl is just smaller than a pigeon. They are mostly light brown with grey and black spots throughout their body. Its small size, thin legs, and almost completely unfeathered toes make the Burrowing Owl a unique member of the owl family.

Habitat

Burrowing Owls prefer flat, treeless terrain, such as pastures grazed by livestock or the edges of agricultural fields. It favours open, sparsely vegetated areas with burrows excavated by American Badgers, Ground Squirrels, and other mammals. During the day, the Burrowing Owl typically feeds around its own nest, but at night, it may range more widely, feeding in nearby fields in denser vegetation, which is the preferred habitat of the small mammals on which it feeds.

Threats

Fragmentation and degradation of remaining grasslands
Agricultural practices that have reduced the number of suitable burrows
Predation by feral cats and dogs
Vehicle road mortality

You Can Help!

While driving, be aware of this species if grasslands are located along the road
Use traps to control pests rather than poison to prevent secondary poisoning
Support local efforts to re-introduce this species
Contact the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC for more information: burrowingowlbc.org

Resources

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