Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Strigiformes > Strigidae > Athene > Athene cunicularia

Athene cunicularia (Burrowing Owl)

Synonyms: Speotyto cunicularia (homotypic); Speotyto cunicularia arubensis; Speotyto cunicularia bahamensis; Speotyto cunicularia intermedia; Strix cunicularia
Language: French; Spanish

Wikipedia Abstract

The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small, long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. Burrowing owls can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other open dry area with low vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows, such as those excavated by prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, although they tend to avoid the midday heat. But like many other kinds of owls, burrowing owls do most of their hunting from dusk until dawn, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. Living in open grasslands as opposed to the forest, the burrowing owl has developed longer legs, which enables it to sprint as well as fly when hunting.
View Wikipedia Record: Athene cunicularia


EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 20.9734
EDGE Score: 3.08983


Adult Weight [1]  151 grams
Birth Weight [3]  9 grams
Breeding Habitat [2]  Temperate grasslands, Desert scrub, Agricultural
Wintering Geography [2]  Widespread
Wintering Habitat [2]  Temperate grasslands, Desert scrub, Agricultural
Diet [4]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Carnivore (Vertebrates)
Diet - Ectothermic [4]  10 %
Diet - Endothermic [4]  70 %
Diet - Invertibrates [4]  20 %
Forages - Mid-High [4]  10 %
Forages - Understory [4]  10 %
Forages - Ground [4]  80 %
Female Maturity [3]  1 year
Male Maturity [3]  1 year
Clutch Size [5]  8
Clutches / Year [3]  2
Global Population (2017 est.) [2]  3,500,000
Incubation [3]  28 days
Maximum Longevity [3]  11 years
Nocturnal [4]  Yes
Snout to Vent Length [1]  9 inches (23 cm)
Wing Span [6]  24 inches (.6 m)


Protected Areas

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Biodiversity Hotspots

Habitat Vegetation Classification

Name Location  Website 
Great Plains Shortgrass Prairie Canada; United States (Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico)
Intermountain Low & Black Sagebrush Steppe & Shrubland United States (Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado)
Intermountain Mountain Big Sagebrush Steppe & Shrubland Canada (British Columbia); United States (Montana, New Mexico, Washington, California, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Oregon)
Intermountain Semi-Desert Grassland United States (Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico)
Midwest Glacial Drift - Loess Hill Prairie United States (Illinois)
Mojave Mid-Elevation Mixed Desert Scrub United States (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico); Mexico (Baja California)
Northern Great Plains Dry Mixedgrass Prairie Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan); United States (North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana)
Northern Great Plains Mesic Mixedgrass Prairie United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska); Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
West Gulf Coastal Plain Seepage Bog United States (Texas, Louisiana)

Prey / Diet

Prey / Diet Overlap


Athene cunicularia (Burrowing Owl)[7]
Buteo swainsoni (Swainson's Hawk)[7]


Range Map

External References

NatureServe Explorer


Play / PauseVolume
Provided by Birds Of A Feather on Myxer


Attributes / relations provided by
1Nathan P. Myhrvold, Elita Baldridge, Benjamin Chan, Dhileep Sivam, Daniel L. Freeman, and S. K. Morgan Ernest. 2015. An amniote life-history database to perform comparative analyses with birds, mammals, and reptiles. Ecology 96:3109
2Partners in Flight Avian Conservation Assessment Database, version 2017. Accessed on January 2018.
3de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
4Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
5Jetz W, Sekercioglu CH, Böhning-Gaese K (2008) The Worldwide Variation in Avian Clutch Size across Species and Space PLoS Biol 6(12): e303. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060303
6Wing Loading in 15 Species of North American Owls, Duncan, James R.; Johnson, David H.; Nicholls, Thomas H., eds. Biology and conservation of owls of the Northern Hemisphere: 2nd International symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-190. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 553-561 (1997)
7Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
8Predation upon small mammals in shrublands and grasslands of southern South America: ecological correlates and presumable consequences, Fabian M. Jaksic, Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 59: 209-221 (1986)
9Comparative Diets of Burrowing Owls in Oregon and Washington, Gregory A. Green, Richard E. Fitzner, Robert G. Anthony and Lee E. Rogers, Northwest Science, Vol. 67, No. 2, 1993, pp. 88-93
10Ctenomys talarum, Enrique R. Justo, Luciano J. M. De Santis, and Marta S. Kin, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 730, pp. 1–5 (2003)
11Desmodus rotundus, Arthur M. Greenhall, Gerhard Joermann, and Uwe Schmidt, Mammalian Species No. 202, pp. 1-6 (1983)
12del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
13Geomys bursarius (Rodentia: Geomyidae), MATTHEW B. CONNIOR, MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(879):104–117 (2011)
14Microcavia australis, Marcelo F. Tognelli, Claudia M. Campos, and Ricardo A. Ojeda, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 648, pp. 1–4 (2001)
15Raw, A. (1997). Avian predation on individual neotropical social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) outside their nests. Ornitologia neotropical, 8, 89-92.
16Reithrodon auritus, Ulyses F. J. Pardin ̃as and Carlos A. Galliari, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 664, pp. 1–8 (2001)
18International Flea Database
19Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 Wildfinder Database
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Audio software provided by SoundManager 2
Species taxanomy provided by GBIF Secretariat (2019). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset accessed via on 2020-03-21; License: CC BY 4.0