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Flammulated Owl


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small owl of mountain pine forests, the Flammulated Owl is common in scattered localities throughout the West.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
5.9–6.7 in
15–17 cm
16.1 in
41 cm
1.6–2.2 oz
45–63 g
Other Names
  • Petit-duc nain (French)
  • Tecolote flameado (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Flammulated Owl was once considered rare, but improved census techniques revealed that it is actually quite common. Some consider it the most abundant owl of western pine forests.
  • The monotonous flat toot of the Flammulated Owl can be difficult to locate. The softness of the call, together with the gradual beginning and end make its direction hard to detect. In addition, when the owl detects a person, it sings even more softly, making it sound as if the owl is far away.
  • Although most small owls eat insects, they also usually eat mice, shrews, and other small vertebrates. The Flammulated Owl eats very few vertebrates at all, and subsists nearly entirely on insects, especially crickets, moths, and beetles. Perhaps this diet is the reason that few Flammulated Owls remain in northern areas over the winter.



Breeds in open pine forest in mountains, especially ponderosa pine forest.



Nocturnal insects.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–4 eggs
Egg Description
White with faint creamy tint.
Condition at Hatching
Covered in white down, eyes closed.
Nest Description

Nests in tree cavities. Adds no nesting material to cavity.

Nest Placement




Hunts at night, gleaning insects off of vegetation.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Common but considered vulnerable and possibly declining in some areas. Flammulated Owl is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation action. They are also on the Audubon Watchlist.


  • McCallum, D. A. 1994. Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus). In The Birds of North America, No. 93 (A. Poole, and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Range Map Help

Flammulated Owl Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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