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Spotted Owl


IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

A denizen of mature coniferous forests, the Spotted Owl has been at the center of debates between forces for and against logging in the Pacific Northwest. Because of its role as the indicator species for old-growth forest, it has become one of the best-studied owls in the world.

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Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large owl.
  • Round head with no ear tufts.
  • Dark eyes.

Immature Description

Like adults.

Range Map Help

Spotted Owl Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

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    Spotted Owl

    • Dark, mottled brown owl
    • Large, dark eyes
    • Dense mottling on breast and belly
    • © Larry Meade, Portal, Arizona, July 2006

    Spotted Owl

    • Stocky, dark, round-headed owl
    • Dense, dark mottling on underparts
    • Dark chocolate brown above, pale grey face
    • © Lois Manowitz, Miller Canyon, Arizona, May 2010

    Spotted Owl

    • Stocky and round-headed
    • Mostly dark brown with dense mottling/spotting on breast and flanks
    • Paler face with dark eyes
    • © Aaron Marshall, April 2012

Similar Species

  • Barred Owl has streaks, not spots, on chest below ruff, and bars, not spots, on head and back.