Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small, long-legged bird in the Strigidae family of owls.

The Burrowing Owl has white and brown flecked feathers with a white chin patch. Its chest and abdomen have white and brown bars, with some greyish feathers. It has white eyebrows, big eyes, and a dark-grey beak. It does not have ear tufts that many other owls have. It has long grey legs.

It measures 19-28 centimetres (7-11 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 50-61 centimetres (20-24 inches). 

Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl is native to North America and South America. It prefers grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, and other open dry areas. 

Unlike most nocturnal (night) owls, the Burrowing Owl is diurnal, active during the day. However, it hunts for food at dusk and dawn. It hunts insects and small mammals, such as mice. It also eats geckos, frogs, toads, fruit, and seeds. 

Its predators include cats, dogs, badgers, coyotes, and snakes. 

It nests in burrows underground that a prairie dog or a squirrel has dug into the soil. It will also nest in other shallow, underground structures. 

The female lays 4-12 eggs and sits on them, and the male brings her food. She incubates the eggs for 21-28 days until they hatch. Both parents feed the chicks. The chicks can fly for short distances after they are about 28 days old. 

The Burrowing Owl can live for at least 9 years in the wild.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

Location of photographs: London Zoo, England

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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