BURROWING OWL


Athene cunicularia


Description:

This little owl is one of my favorite birds. They look like little sentry gaurds protecting their burrows. Although they are capable of digging their own burrows, they will often just use an abandoned prairie dog or gopher hole. These birds feed on insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.


Appearance:

Brown upperparts with white spots on back, wings, and head. Dark chest with white spots. White belly with brown stripes. Long legs. Yellow eyes and bill. Short tail. Light-brown face with white border. No ear tufts. Juvenile has buff colored underparts. Sexes similar. 8 to 9 inches in length.


Habitat:

Deserts, dry grasslands, farms and fields.


Nesting:

5-7 white eggs with a 21-28 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 28 days after hatching. The nest is a long underground burrow lined with grass and roots.


Observed Locations:

  • San Diego Flood Control Channel (SeaWorld side), San Diego
  • Fiesta Island, Mission Bay
  • Rangeland Road, Ramona
  • Salton Sea





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.