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Western Screech-Owl

Megascops kennicottii ORDER: STRIGIFORMES FAMILY: STRIGIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A common small owl of the West, the Western Screech-Owl can be found in urban as well as wild lands.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
7.5–9.8 in
19–25 cm
Wingspan
21.7–24.4 in
55–62 cm
Weight
3.5–10.8 oz
100–305 g
Other Names
  • Petit-duc des montagnes (French)
  • Tecolote occidental (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Occasionally takes prey larger than itself, including cottontail rabbits and Mallards.
  • Western Screech-Owls are vulnerable to habitat loss because of urban development.
  • Until recently it was considered the same species as the Eastern Screech-Owl.

Habitat


Open Woodland

  • Lives in diversity of habitats, but associates with riparian habitats and deciduous trees.
  • Also in urban and suburban parks and residential areas.

Food


Mammals

Mammals, birds, worms, insects, and crayfish.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–7 eggs
Egg Description
White.
Condition at Hatching
Covered in white down, eyes closed.
Nest Description

Nests in tree cavities; readily uses nest boxes. Adds no nesting material to cavity.

Nest Placement

Cavity

Behavior


Stalking

Sit-and-wait predator.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Vulnerable to habitat loss because of urban development.

Credits

  • Cannings, R. J., and T. Angell. 2001. Western Screech-Owl (Otus kennicottii). In The Birds of North America, No. 597 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Western Screech-Owl Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Backyard Tips

Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.