Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, nest stained

Number of Eggs:

7 - 10

Incubation Days:

21 - 30

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with cow manure, horse dung, food debris, dry grass, weeds.





Burrowing Owl: Small ground-dwelling owl, mostly brown with numerous white spots and no ear tufts. Legs are long. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has pale underparts and buff breast.

Range and Habitat

Burrowing Owl: Found in North and South America. Live in the desert regions and grasslands of western North America, and drier areas of Central and South America. Spend their winters in Texas where they commonly breed. Found in northern areas of the Great Plains and northern California in the summer. Preferred habitats include dry grasslands and deserts.

Breeding and Nesting

Burrowing Owl: Lays seven to ten white, nest stained eggs in nest lined with excrement, pellets, grass, feathers, and other debris, built in a burrow, pipe, culvert, or nest box; burrows are either dug by the owls or have been abandoned by ground squirrels, prairie dogs, badgers, or other small mammals. Female incubates for 21 to 30 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Burrowing Owl: Eats mostly large arthropods, but also feeds on mice, small rabbits, rats, gophers, ground squirrels, bats, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Often watches from perch and then glides silently toward target; most active at dusk and dawn, but will hunt anytime throughout a 24-hour period.


Burrowing Owl: Call is a two-syllable "who-who." When disturbed in the nest, young sound an alarm that imitates a rattlesnake.

Similar Species

Burrowing Owl: Northern and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls have vertical breast markings and false eye spots on their napes.


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

The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X