Athene cunicularia ssp. hypugaea

Athene cunicularia ssp. hypugaea

Western burrowing owl
FWS Focus


The Burrowing Owl is small ground-dwelling diurnal owl with several distinctive features including its bright yellow eyes, long legs and characteristic bobbing behavior when disturbed. Burrowing Owls range in length from 19-25 cm and have brown and buffy-white spotted feathers with a buffy-white eyebrow. Males are slightly larger than females. Juveniles are distinguishable from adults by their solid buff colored breast and wings (Poulin et al. 2011).


  • Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, P. A. Rabie, and B. R. Euliss. 1999 (revised 2002). Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Burrowing owl. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND. 33 pages.
  • Martin, D.J. 1973. Selected Aspects of Burrowing owl Ecology and Behavior. The Condor 75(4): 446-456.
  • Poulin, Ray, L. Danielle Todd, E. A. Haug, B. A. Millsap and M. S. Martell. 2011. Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:
  • Smallwood, S.K. and C. Thelander. 2008. Bird Mortality in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(1): 215-223.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS ). 2002. Raptors: Diurnal and Nocturnal Birds of Prey. Fact Sheet. Web. 06 August 2011.

Scientific Name

Athene cunicularia ssp. hypugaea
Common Name
Western burrowing owl
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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