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Strigiformes > Strigidae

Boreal Owl

Aegolius funereus

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Identification

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Rare and seldom seen, this is the slightly larger and more northerly cousin of the Northern Saw-whet Owl. Distinguished from Northern Saw-whet by its colder gray-brown coloration and spotted (not streaked) forehead. Small size and boldly spotted body separate it from other owls. Fast tooting call is similar to a displaying Wilson's Snipe but with a clearer whistled tone and steadier volume. Difficult to find without a lot of effort; most often seen during "irruption" winters when large numbers move south in search of prey. Even then, requires intense searching of conifer groves to find a roosting bird during the daytime. Sometimes hunts small rodents around birdfeeders. Nests in tree cavities in forests with spruce, fir, aspen, and poplar.

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Learn more about Boreal 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