Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

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  • Burrowing Owl |  Photo: Jeri Krueger, USFWS
  • Burrowing Owl |  Photo: Jeri Krueger, USFWS
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Burrowing Owl Photo Gallery

Basic Information






Burrowing Owls are generally between 7.25 and 10 inches in length.


up to 11 years


Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) facts, habitat, range, owl pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the bird of prey.


Burrowing Owls eat insects, small mammals, birds and amphibians.


Aerial Dive


Migratory: Plains-Western U.S.

Nest Placement


Number of Offspring

4–11 Eggs

Egg Description


Condition at Hatching

Feeble, eyes closed, gray white down covered

Social Status

Loose Colonies


21.25–21.75 in

What does the Burrowing Owl look like?

Burrowing Owls are small brown owls with white spots on their backs and bars on their chests. They have rounded heads with no ear tufts, bright yellow eyes, long legs and short tails. Juveniles have an unstreaked dirty white chest and dark collar.

Burrowing Owl Habitat


Burrowing Owl Facts

Burrowing Owls are a diurnal bird of prey. Unlike most owls, they are most active during the early morning and twilight hours when insects are buzzing. There are more than 20 subspecies of Burrowing Owls. They have evolved long legs, which make them excellent runners. As their name suggests, Burrowing Owls nest in holes in the ground, often abandoned by prairie dogs or gophers, however they are perfectly capable of digging their own. They tend to place animal droppings around their burrows. The dung attracts beetles, which makes for an easy meal. Unlike most owls, male and female burrowing owls are the same size. Males have a sweet two note "coo-coooo" call during courtship. When alarmed, they rattle off a series of clucks and chatter.

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