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Burrowing Owl


Bird Type: Owls

Scientific name: Athene cunicularia

IUCN World Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

Burrowing owls are often active in the day and spend most of their time on or close to the ground. They will often collect mammal waste which they place around their nests to attract dung beetles, one of their favourite foods. They are covered in brown, spotted feathers and have long legs. They have distinctive white “eyebrows” above bright yellow eyes.

Where in the world?

Native throughout North and South America and southern Canada.

Threats in the wild


These owls are found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts or any other open dry area with low vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows such as those excavated by prairie dogs.


This bird mainly eats small rodents and large insects. When hunting, they wait on a perch until they spot prey, then swoop down or fly up to catch insects in flight. Sometimes they chase prey on foot across
the ground.


Burrowing owls are so named because they build their nests underground, usually dug by other animals. Females lay up to 12 eggs and incubate them while the male brings food. Pairs of owls will
sometimes nest together in loose colonies.