Skip to main content

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Also known as the Acadian Owl, Blind Owl, Sparrow Owl and about a dozen other names, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a relatively tiny little guy who measures only 8.5in in length and possesses a 20in wingspan. They are native to North America, and some, but not all, are migratory.

Image from Idaho Birding Trail
Northern Saw-Whet Owls are identified by their already mentioned small bodies, their lack of ear tufts, and their proportionally large heads. They are chestnut brown with various white markings, including a Y that forms over their eyes. Their large eyes are yellow, and the beaks are black. Northern Saw-Whet Owls are so named because one of their calls is said to resemble the sound of whetting a saw. They are quite vocal during the breeding season, but remain silent during the rest of the year.

As far as diet is concerned, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl really loves its rodents. Typically 70% to 80% of their diet consists of mice and voles, with the rest being filled in my insects, spiders, other birds, and even marine crustaceans. Larger prey, including mice, is consumed in two different meals, as it is possible for the owls to choke while attempting to consume their prey whole. Hunting takes place at night with help from night vision and superb hearing. They stake out their prey from low perches (6-12 feet above the ground) before silently swooping in.

Northern Saw-Whet Owls are monogamous, but not for life. Males attract females with their lovely singing voices, and will take them to the nest sites they have selected before doing a little head bobbing dance. Nests are built in tree cavities, and the female watches over the eggs while the male performs all of the hunting. Eggs hatch after 3-4 weeks, and fledging takes place 4-5 weeks after that. Captive individuals have lived 8 years, but the life expectancy in the wild is unknown. They are preyed upon by larger owls, other birds of prey, and larger (to them anyway) mammals.

Thanks to John for the suggestion!


  1. I love those eyes. But at times it brings fears ...

  2. I love owl eyes, its like they know... they just know!

  3. Captive Northern SawWhets have been documented at up to 16years in captivity. The Education Center where I work currently has one that is 11years old.

  4. The more I watch birds, the more I am amazed. In particular, I find the sheer variety of birds to be mind-boggling. We all know penguins can swim and we know they can't fly. And we all know that ducks can do both. These facts are understood whether you watch birds or not. But watching birds.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

Halloween Crab

Gecarcinus quadratus The Halloween Crab goes by many names, including the Red Land Crab, Whitespot Crab, and Moon Crab. I personally like Halloween Crab though, since it really reflects the interesting colors. They have black carapaces, orange-red legs, and purple claws! Halloween Crabs live in the Pacific coast mangroves and forests of Central and South America. They actually live in the forests as adults, and return to the ocean in order to reproduce. Did you know that they live as far away as 18 miles (30km)  from water? Not where you normally think Crabs to be! While living in the forest, the Crabs forage nocturnally for different plant matter, including leaves and sapling. They also dig long burrows into the ground for protection. These burrows can measure nearly 5 ft long! Halloween Crabs are sometimes kept in captivity, and can be very tricky pets due to their excellent climbing skills. IUCN Status :  Not Listed Location :   Cent