Burrowing Owl

Most owls roost and nest in trees, but the Burrowing Owl makes its home underground 

Most owls roost and nest in trees, but the Burrowing Owl makes its home underground – an adaptation that means it can live in all kinds of open, treeless areas, from the South American pampas to golf courses!

This little owl spends much of its time hunting on the ground and standing upright on guard outside its burrow. When alarmed it sometimes makes a hissing, rattling call that sounds like a rattlesnake. It has unusually long legs, which give it extra height for a better view from its typically ground-level perch.

The Burrowing Owl doesn’t actually make its own burrow but uses burrows abandoned by small mammals like prairie dogs. During the nesting season, burrowing owls will collect a wide variety of materials to line their nest, the most common of which is cattle dung.

Where are they found?
They can be found in open, treeless terrain in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Scientific name
Athene cunicularia
Family
Strigidae
Order
Strigiformes
Lifespan
Average lifespan of 6 to 8 years
Fast facts
The Burrowing Owl is diurnal, which means it is active during the day as well as night.
The Burrowing Owl uses burrows abandoned by small mammals like prairie dogs.
They are one of the smallest owls in North America.
Conservation status
Least concern