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Flammulated Owl

Otus flammeolus
The firs thing that came to mind when I saw this animal for the first time was, "wow... that's a tiny Owl!" And they certainly are! Flammulated Owls are really small members of their family. Their bodies are only about half a foot long, and their entire wingspan is around 14in. For a comparison, the Eurasian Eagle Owl (one of the largest Owls) can have a wingspan as large as 6ft!

Aside from their small size, Flammulated Owls can be identified by their small ear tufts and coloration that... sort of matches their name-- "flammulated" means "of a reddish hue," and the owls certainly have little bits of reddish brown here and there, though they are mostly grey.

You can find these little guys in western Canada and the United States, as well as down in Mexico where they migrate to during the winters. It was once thought that they were very rare in their range, but better surveying methods have shown otherwise. One issue was simply finding them-- they give off very monotonous, quiet calls, and it can be very hard to locate them by sound. The Owls are now considered one of the most common Pine Forest Owl species, though they are scarce in a few regions.

While most Owls feed on small mammals and other birds, the Flammulated Owls eat invertebrates exclusively. They pick spiders, moths, crickets, and all sorts of other arthropods out of the air, trees, and off the ground.

Flammulated Owls breed during the springtime, with couples pairing off and building nests inside of tree holes that were often built by Woodpeckers. 2-4 eggs are laid at a time, and the female does all of the incubating while her mates brings food. Both parents care for the chicks, who fledge at 3-5 weeks, and leave for good after another 4-5.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Western North America
Size : Length up to 6in (15cm), Wingspan 14in (36cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Strigiformes
Family : Strigidae -- Genus : Otus -- Species : O. flammeolus


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