Northern saw-whet owl

COMMON NAME: Northern Saw-whet owl

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Aegolius acadicus

IDENTIFYING CHARACTERISTICS:
The smallest owl east of the Mississippi River, the saw-whet stands about seven inches tall. It has a brown head with no ear tufts and white streaks above its eyes. Its body is brown with white streaks on the belly. The immature saw-whet has a completely different plumage: a distinct chocolate brown with a large white spot above the bill extending over the eyes. This plumage disappears by the end of the first summer.

RANGE:
Found across southern Canada and most of the United States, with the exception of the southeastern states, and into Mexico. Saw-whet owls winter in their breeding range, but move out of the northern portions in some years.

HABITAT:
An owl of dense woods, the saw-whet owl is found mostly in coniferous or mixed hardwood forests.

NESTING:
A cavity nester, the saw-whet owl nests near bogs or swamps. It usually lays from three to six eggs.

FEEDING HABITS:
Saw-whet owls feed primarily on small rodents, insects, and amphibians. They have also been reported to take songbirds and small mammals.

RAPTOR CENTER DATA:
A common patient, the saw-whet owl is fairly easy to manage in captivity and is always a favorite with visitors.

CONSERVATION NOTES:

This owl has no special status and is considered to be quite common.