Northern Saw-whet Owl

Aegolius acadicus

Summary 3

The Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a small owl native to North America.
Their habitat is coniferous forests, sometimes mixed or deciduous woods, across North America. Most birds nest in coniferous type forests of the North but winter in mixed or deciduous woods. They also love riparian areas because of the abundance of prey there.[9] They live in tree cavities and old nests made by other small raptors. Some are permanent residents, while others may migrate south in winter or move down from higher elevations. Their range covers most of North America including southeastern Alaska, southern Canada, most of the United States and the central mountains in Mexico. The map shows where they breed and the areas where they can live throughout the year.
In particular, this owl prefers forests that are composed either entirely of evergreen trees or of a mix of evergreen and deciduous tree species. In winter, individuals which have moved south are less tied to a particular habitat type, relocating as new sources of prey become available. Like most owls, the Northern Saw-whet Owl hunts small mammals, including mice, shrews, and voles. This owl uses its excellent hearing to locate prey on the ground in order to fly down and capture it with its talons. Also, like most owls, this species hunts almost exclusively at night, making it difficult to observe. Northern Saw-whet Owls are most visible roosting high in trees during the day or while producing toot-like calls at dusk.

Northern saw-whet owls communicate and perceive their environment using touch, sound and vision. They hunt using sight and sound. In fact, they have such good hearing that they can catch prey using just their ears to find it. Northern saw-whets use their eyes and ears to communicate. For example, males whose territories are next to each other may call back and forth to make sure that each stays in his own territory. During courtship, males call to females to attract them. Pairs use touch to strengthen the pair bond by allopreening (taking care of each others feathers).

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Rick Leche, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  2. (c) cyric, all rights reserved, uploaded by nataliemarisa,
  3. Adapted by nataliemarisa from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),

More Info

Range Map

iNat Map

Taxa aves
Endangered status least concern