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Burrowing owl

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Most owls roost and nest in trees, but the burrowing owl makes its home underground – an adaptation that means it can live in all kinds of open, treeless areas, form the South American pampas to golf courses!

This little owl spends much of its time hunting on the ground and standing upright on guard outside its burrow. When alarmed it sometimes makes a hissing, rattling call that sounds like a rattlesnake. It has unusually long legs, which give it extra height for a better view from its typically ground-level perch.

The burrowing owl usually doesn’t make its own burrow but instead uses burrows abandoned by small mammals like prairie dogs. During the nesting season, burrowing owls will collect a wide variety of materials to line their nest, the most common of which is cattle dung.

Conservation status | Least concern

Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Athene cunicularia






Average lifespan of 6 to 8 years

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