About 8-10.5 in. long. Long legs, short tail, and no
Adult brown, spotted, and barred (Scott, 1983). Eyes
with two white eyebrow
marks (Bologna, 1978). Juvenile buffy and unbarred
Found in grasslands and deserts (Cassidy, 1990) and in
savannas (American Ornithologists' Union, 1983). The
Owl is often found
in open country in urban areas, including golf courses,
cuts, and airports (Scott,
Athene cunicularia is resident from southern
British Columbia south
through eastern Washington, central Oregon to
east to western
Minnesota, western Missouri, Oklahoma, eastern Texas
Louisiana, and south to
central Mexico (American Ornithologists' Union, 1983).
Diet consists of large insects, small mammals (mainly
and birds (Bologna, 1978).
The Burrowing Owl nests in abandoned dens of prairie
or other burrowing mammals (Bologna, 1978). Nests in single pairs, or more
commonly in small colonies (Scott, 1978). The female lays 5-11 eggs, which are
white, but quickly become stained by the soil (Cassidy, 1990). Incubation lasts for 3-4
weeks, and is done by both parents (Bologna, 1978).
The Burrowing Owl is a ground-dwelling bird, with both diurnal and nocturnal (day and
night) habits (Bologna, 1978). Calls include a soft coo-cooo, and when disturbed in its
nest, the Burrowing Owl gives off an alarm call that imitates a rattle snake (Scott, 1983).
The Burrowing Owl returns to the same nest year after year, remodeling them annually
with their beaks, legs, and wings (Cassidy, 1990).
American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Checklist of
North American birds, 6th edition. Allen Press,
Lawrence, 877 pp.
Bologna, G. 1978. Simon and Schuster guide to birds
of the world. Simon and Schuster, New York, 511 pp.
Cassidy, J., ed. 1990. Book of North American birds.
Reader's Digest, New York,
Scott, S. L. 1983. Field guide to birds of North
America, 2nd edition. National Geographic Society,
Washington, D.C., 464 pp.
Lorraine Bueno, July 1995.