Speckled Elf Owl

The Elf owl is the arena's lightest owl and it's also the sector's smallest owl. Elf owls play useless when handled or captured; this adaptation encourages a predator to chill out its grip so that the owl can get away. Elf owls aren't competitive birds and prefer to fly away quite than battle. When disturbed, Elf owls produce 'cheeur' sounds and canSusanna G. Henry, Frederick R. Gehlbach, Donna Molfetto, and Phillip Howard Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020Elf Owl. Last but in no way least we have now the star of our show - The Elf Owl. These owls are around the size of a sparrow and about 12-14cm long with a wingspan of 27cm. Not handiest is the Elf owl little, it additionally wins because the smallest species of owl because it's the lightest owl on this planet weighting around 40g.The Elf Owl is the smallest owl on the earth, and they breed proper right here in Texas. Elf Owls are a desert and dry scrub species, so you will have to shuttle to west or south Texas to find them. They ceaselessly inhabit previous woodpecker holes in sycamore, oak, and cottonwood timber.The Elf Owl is a summer season resident within the decrease Big Bend area of western Texas and deep southern Texas. More observations of this species would possibly indicate it identity extra considerable than up to now idea. The smallest of all owls, measuring handiest about 13 cm (Five in) in length and weighing 35 to fifty five gr (1.2 to 2 oz; BRM). This species might regularly be overlooked.

Revision History - Elf Owl - Micrathene whitneyi - Birds

MICRATHENE (Strigidae; Ϯ Elf Owl M. whitneyi) Gr. μικρος mikros little; genus Athene Boie, 1822, owl; "MICRATHENE Coues, nov. gen.Of small size, being some of the most diminutive of recognized Owls. TYPE. Athene Whitneyi, Cooper.With the dimensions and basic aspect of Glaucidium, this genus differs very much from it as follows: The invoice is smaller, weaker, much less strongly hooked and dentulated.The 13 species of owls in Arizona are the Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Western Screech-owl, Whiskered Screech-owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Northern Pygmy Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Flammulated Owl, Burrowing Owl, and the Elf Owl. These Thirteen species of owls in Arizona I may just confirm have aElf Owl: The Elf Owl happens from western Mexico throughout the southwestern United States. In our area, it can be found mostly in riparian habitats or in affiliation with the saguaro. Burrowing Owl: This species occurs from southwestern Canada to Tierra del Fuego, on the tip of South America. It prefers open country, prairie and barren region.Her most up-to-date owl e-book explores all 225 identified species, from the snowy owl within the Arctic tundra to the burrowing owl of the Mexican deserts; from the large eagle owl that preys on young deer and foxes, to the elf owl that eats insects.

Revision History - Elf Owl - Micrathene whitneyi - Birds

What is the Smallest Species of Owl? - Owl Chatter

Elf owls are one of the vital two species of owls found in North America that if truth be told migrate — the second being the small, Western pine forest living Flammulated owl, Psiloscops flammeolus, noticedIt's an Elf Owl, the smallest species of owl in the world. Standing lower than six inches tall, feathered in gray with giant yellow eyes, the Elf Owl weighs lower than an oz. and a part — just a little lower than a golf ball. And it's a decided predator. Flying out from its tree hollow space at nightfall, the Elf Owl hunts beetles, crickets, and spidersThe elf owl was once first reported by naturalist and physician, James Graham Cooper (1830-1896) in 1861.The species identify "whitneyi" is a Latinized word which honors Cooper's friend, Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896), an American mining geologist and zoologist, who helped Cooper with birding once they were in California all the way through the 1860s (HolmgrenOne of the smallest owls on this planet, about the size of a sparrow. Patterned with rufous, gray, and white. Most similar in plumage to Flammulated Owl, however note the Elf Owl's white eyebrows, yellow eyes, tiny dimension, and habitat.The Elf Owl makes its nest in natural cavities and deserted woodpecker holes present in saguaro cacti and oak and sycamore bushes. They also use man-made structures for nesting, which is a plus for this declining species. If you reside inside of this small owl's range, believe a nest box to help the birds discover a suitable breeding site.


The Sonoran Desert at night is a very vigorous place. Especially in summer time, there are possibly more creatures in another country at midnight than at midday. Of route, most birds shun this night shift, but several species of owl are notable exceptions.

Owls are beautifully equipped to hunt at night. They can not see in general darkness - no animal can do this - however their eyes are adapted for imaginative and prescient under very low mild stipulations. Even extra impressive is their sense of hearing. Studies have proven that Barn Owls can locate their prey via sound alone, in total darkness, with pinpoint accuracy. Many of the creatures that they hunt even have excellent listening to, however the owls can method them in silence; the sound of their wing beats is muffled by way of the softened edges of the larger wing feathers.

Great Horned Owls are discovered throughout the Americas and Barn Owls practically during the world, so it isn't surprising that they can adapt to abandon life. Great Horned Owls devour almost the rest smaller than themselves from rabbits and skunks to snakes and insects. Barn Owls specialize on rodents and the smaller desert owls additionally tend to take small prey. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, a tropical species that reaches its northern prohibit right here, may hunt most at first light and nightfall, regularly catching songbirds. The world's smallest owl, the Elf Owl, nests in holes in saguaro cacti and ventures out at night to consume beetles and moths. Nocturnal bugs are scarce in chilly climate, so most Elf Owls retreat south into Mexico for the iciness; different desolate tract owls are present year-round.

--Kenn Kaufman

Sonoran Desert species:

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)Western Screech-Owl (Otus kennicottii)Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi)Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

Ferruginous Pygmy-owl

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Strigidae (all but Barn Owl)Family: Tytonidae (Barn Owl)Spanish names: lechuza mono, lechuza comn (Barn Owl), tecolotito chillon (Western Screech-Owl), tecolote cornudo, buho (Great Horned Owl), tecolote enano (Elf Owl), lechuza llanera, lechuza de ojo (Burrowing Owl)

Distinguishing Features

Barn Owl: This is a long-legged, knock-kneed, pale, monkey-faced owl. It has no ear tufts, and the pale face resembles a heart-shaped disc. The back is golden-brown, the stomach is white. The voice is a loud, rasping screech. Western Screech-Owl: A commonplace chook in our house, it's small, measuring only about Eight inches (20 cm). It is gray, streaked with black and white, has conspicuous ear tufts and is zygodactylous (2 feet point ahead, 2 backward). Its call, a trill of a number of notes that become extra speedy (like a bouncing ball), distinguishes it from the equivalent Whiskered Screech-Owl, which lives in oak woodlands. Great Horned Owl: Measuring nearly 2 toes (sixty one cm) tall, this is our largest owl. It has a white throat, barred underside, and distinguished ear tufts. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl: This small (6¼ to 7 inch; 17 cm), uncommon, earless owl is reddish-brown with a faintly cross-barred tail. The crown has many white streaks and the underside is white with red-brown streaks.

Elf Owl

Elf Owl: About the size of a sparrow (Five inches tall; Thirteen cm), this is one of the vital smallest owls on the earth. It has no ear tufts, and is grayish-brown with a white brow. The name consists of numerous soft yelping notes, frequently running in combination into a high-pitched chatter. Burrowing Owl: About the scale of a screech-owl, it's brown, noticed with tan, and lacks ear tufts; the long legs are virtually featherless.

Click to listen to Screech Owl sounds

Click to hear more Screech Owl sounds


Barn Owl: This owl occurs throughout our area and thru a lot of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is common but local. It is continuously discovered together with human habitation, roosting and nesting in barns, beneath bridges, in mine shafts, and in palm trees. It ceaselessly nests within the undercuts of arroyos.

Barn Owl

Western Screech-Owl: The screech-owl occurs from southwestern Canada into Mexico. It is a resident of wooded spaces from low barren region into the mountains.

Great Horned Owl: This owl occurs all the way through the New World, excluding the extreme north. It is located in each habitat inside of our region.

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl: This species ranges from southern Arizona and southernTexas, south via Central and South America. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is located in saguaro deserts and wooded river bottoms. In the tropics it inhabits a wide variety of wooded or semi-open habitats.

Elf Owl: The Elf Owl occurs from western Mexico throughout the southwestern United States. In our area, it may be discovered most commonly in riparian habitats or in affiliation with the saguaro.

Burrowing Owl: This species occurs from southwestern Canada to Tierra del Fuego, on the tip of South America. It prefers open country, prairie and desolate tract. It is regularly observed in desolate tract and grassland areas, status on mounds or fence posts throughout the day.


Diet: The Barn Owl feeds on huge numbers of rats and mice. Western Screech-Owl feeds on invertebrates and vertebrates. The Great Horned Owl has a particularly varied vitamin that comes with birds, skunks, snakes, lizards, insects, or even frogs and fish. Lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) and rodents make up the bulk of the nutrition. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl prefers lizards and big bugs, but may even take scorpions and small birds and mammals. The Elf Owl feeds totally on invertebrates similar to scorpions, centipedes, beetles and moths. The Burrowing Owl feeds on insects, rodents and small reptiles.

Behavior: Barn Owl: An knowledgeable nocturnal predator, it finds its prey at night time with exceptionally acute listening to and imaginative and prescient. The owl, like most birds of prey, ingests bone and fur when it eats its prey. However, the digestive processes of the owl are not in a position to digesting bone and fur. This residual subject material is shaped into a pellet within the stomach and regurgitated. Food addiction research of owls are simply achieved by way of examining the contents of the pellets found in or close to their roosts. Western Screech-Owl: The streaked pattern of the owl blends well with barren region shrubs whilst hunting. Highly nocturnal. Great Horned Owl: A nocturnal predator with extraordinarily acute sound belief and evening imaginative and prescient. The cushy feathers are an adaptation to its hunting taste of acquiring meals. These feathers are not making any sound in flight; due to this fact, the chicken can hear the prey and locate its place, but the prey cannot listen the owl. This owl is an especially necessary predator of jackrabbits and cottontails. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl: This pugnacious owl is maximum lively at night, however it is usually lively all the way through the day, particularly at crack of dawn and overdue afternoon.

Life History

Barn Owl nesting activity peaks in the spring, with Five to six white eggs laid in a melancholy in a tree cavity, cave, mine shaft, or building. The female incubates the eggs about 33 days. The young remain in the nest for 7 to 8 weeks. The barn owl characteristically starts incubating the first egg, and while incubating it, lays further eggs. Since the eggs are laid 1 to two days aside, the younger hatch 1 to two days aside. Therefore, chicks of quite a lot of ages (building levels) will also be present in one nest. Often the older siblings starve out the more youthful. Once one dies, it's fed to the older nestlings. The young are very noisy, crying raucously when the adults feed them.

The Western Screech-Owl nests in tree cavities; in our space it commonly nests in saguaro holes. The eggs are white with Four to 5 in a grasp. They are incubated for approximately 26 days. The male feeds the female right through incubation.

The Great Horned Owl starts nesting all the way through January or February, generally in an abandoned hawk nest or on a ledge. The white eggs are usually laid 2 or Three to a grab. The owls actively defend the nest territory.

The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl female lays Three or 4 white eggs in hollows of saguaros or other trees. The nest, which accommodates no nesting fabrics, may be used for many years. The incubation period is about 28 days; the male feeds the sitting feminine and both folks feed nestlings. The younger are in a position to fly 27 to 30 days after hatching.

Burrowing Owls

The Elf Owl makes use of outdated woodpecker nest cavities for its nests. The white eggs are in most cases laid Three to Four to a take hold of. Starlings, which are an offered bird from Europe, pose a threat to Elf Owls. They take over nest cavities already in use by way of the Elf Owls, or by means of other birds.

The Burrowing Owl nests in the used burrows of different animals, most often flooring squirrels and prairie canine. The white eggs quantity from Five to ten, and are laid in underground nests. The young children spend maximum in their early existence underground, but emerge ahead of they are absolutely fledged to exercise their flight muscle tissue. When disturbed in a burrow, the owl mimics a rattlesnakes rattle. The adults are probably preyed upon via other predators; the chicks are taken by means of snakes.

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