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Merlin Bird ID

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    Spotted Owl

    Silhouette OwlsOwls

    Spotted Owl

    Strix occidentalis
    • ORDER: Strigiformes
    • FAMILY: Strigidae
    Basic Description

    In the 1990s the Spotted Owl was catapulted into the spotlight over logging debates in the Pacific Northwest. This large, brown-eyed owl lives in mature forests of the West, from the giant old growth of British Columbia and Washington, to California's oak woodlands and the steep canyons of the Southwest. At night it silently hunts small mammals such as woodrats and flying squirrels. Despite federal protection beginning in 1990, the owl is still declining in the Northwest owing to habitat loss, fragmentation, and competition with Barred Owls.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Spotted OwlRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Spotted Owls are rare and difficult to find. Like most nocturnal owls, your best bet is to find appropriate habitat (which differs among the three subspecies), and then patiently listen for their hooting calls during the night.

    Other Names
    • Búho Moteado (Spanish)
    • Chouette tachetée (French)
    • Cool Facts