Spotted Owl

Strix occidentalis




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with a buff tint

Number of Eggs:

1 - 4

Incubation Days:

28 - 32

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

60 - 100 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Natural tree cavities. Platform nests constructed by squirrels, raptors, and wood rats.





Spotted Owl: Medium-sized owl with white-spotted, brown upperparts and finely barred white underparts. Head lacks ear tufts. Eyes are brown. Wings are brown with white spots. Sexes are similar. Sometimes interbreeds with Barred Owls.

Range and Habitat

Spotted Owl: Found from southwestern British Columbia south through the mountains of Washington, Oregon, and California, the western slopes of Sierra Nevada, and the southern Rockies; also occurs in Utah and central Colorado through Arizona's mountain ranges, New Mexico, western Texas, and central Mexico. Preferred habitats are dense, dark, old growth or mixed coniferous forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Spotted Owl: Lays one to four buff tinted, white eggs in stick nests of Northern Goshawks, clumps of mistletoe, large tree cavities, broken tops of large trees, large branches, or cavities in banks and rock faces. Female incubates for 28 to 32 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Spotted Owl: Feeds on flying squirrels, wood rats, gophers, small rabbits, mice, and voles. Forages from a perch, swooping down to capture prey on the ground, usually at night.


Spotted Owl: Call is a mellow, four-note hoot, "hoo-hoohoo-hoo", given by both sexes. Location call is a series of 7 to 15 hoots, given during disputes and/or calls between paired birds; female often emits a loud "co-weeep" to contact her mate. Also barks in a series of three to seven notes. Other sounds include grunts, groans, and chatters.

Similar Species

Spotted Owl: Barred Owl is larger and has a breast pattern of horizontal and vertical marks. Great Horned Owl is much larger, has ear tufts, and yellow eyes.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X