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Little Qualicum estuary

Strigiformes > Strigidae

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Aegolius acadicus

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Pint-sized owl of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; found in northern forests and western mountains. Prefers areas with conifers and thick understory. Fairly common, but shy and difficult to see. Patterned with brown and white overall, with streaked white forehead and blotchy rusty-brown streaks below. No ear tufts. Migratory, but numbers of migrants fluctuate greatly from year to year. Named for its loud, repetitive whistles that sound like a saw being whetted (sharpened). Also gives a harsher, rising screech. Most similar to less common Boreal Owl. Saw-whet is smaller with streaks (not spots) on forehead and richer orange-brown streaks on underparts.



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Learn more about Northern Saw-whet Owl from…

All About Birds

Your Online Guide To Birds And Bird Watching

Birds of North America

Comprehensive life histories of North American breeding birds

Neotropical Birds

Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America