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World Owl Trust - leading the World in Owl Conservation
Sunday 23rd November, 2014

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Burrowing Owl
Athene cunicularia
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia hypugae    Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia hypugae
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia hypugae
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia hypugae
As of February 2005.
Description Small long-legged “earless” owl. Brown upper-parts, heavily spotted with white or buff. Under-parts buff-white with dark barring. Yellow eyes, with prominent whitish “eyebrows”.
Size 18-26cm, 120-228g
Range From Canada to Tierra del Fuego, except in dense tropical forest and high Andes.
Habitat Open country with bushes, semi desert and desert, plains, prairies, pasture land and mountain slopes.
Food Mainly invertebrates and small mammals.
Breeding Breeds from March to August, normally using the empty burrows of mammals, particularly prairie dogs and viscacha but also gophers, skunks and armadillos. Occasionally excavate their own burrow, and will frequently place animal dung around the entrance of the burrow to hide the scent from mammalian predators, one of only two owls which bring material to the nest. 2-11 (normally 5-6) eggs are laid in a chamber up to 3 metres from the entrance to the burrow. Incubation is about 28 days and the young fledge by about 44 days.
Call Hollow plaintive “coo cooooo”.
Status Although not globally threatened, seriously declining or endangered in many parts of N America, and Tierra del Fuego from changes in land usage. Some of the island races are also threatened.
Comments Formerly placed in a separate genus Speotyto, recent DNA evidence has confirmed its inclusion in Athene.
Races Up to 21 different races have been described, 2 (guadeloupensis and amaura from the Lesser Antilles are extinct), 13 are recognised here.
A.c.cunicularia N Chile and S Brazil south to Tierra del Fuego
A.c.grallaria Brazil
A.c.hypuguea British Columbia and Manitoba to Mexico and Panama
A.c.floridana E USA and Florida
A.c.troglodytes Hispaniola, Beata and Gonave in Caribbean
A.c.arubensis Aruba Island, Netherland Antilles
A.c.rostrata Clarion Island off W Mexico
A.c.nanodes Pacific Peru to N Chile (includes intermedia)
A.c.brachyptera Margarita Island, N & C Venezuela (includes apurensis)
A.c.tolimae W Columbia
A.c.juninensis Andes of Peru, W Bolivia and NW Argentina
A.c.boliviana Bolivia and N Argentina
A.c.minor N Brazil, Guyana and Surinam
A.c.pichinchae Andes of W Ecuador


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