Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls are small, sandy coloured owls with bright-yellow eyes. They live underground in burrows they’ve dug themselves or taken over from a prairie dog, ground squirrel, or tortoise.

They live in grasslands, deserts, and other open habitats, where they hunt mainly insects and rodents. Their numbers have declined sharply with human alteration of their habitat and the decline of prairie dogs and ground squirrels.

Burrowing Owls spend most of their time on the ground or on low perches such as fence posts. They hunt close to the ground catching insects and small animals.

What do they eat?

Burrowing Owls eat invertebrates and small vertebrates, including lizards, birds, and mammals. Invertebrates, especially insects, constitute the majority of food items, while vertebrates make up the bulk of the diet by mass. Burrowing Owls commonly hunt grasshoppers, crickets, moths, beetles, mice, voles, and shrews. They also prey on dragonflies, giant water bugs, earwigs, caterpillars, scorpions, and earthworms, frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, turtles,and salamanders, bats, ground squirrels, small weasels, young rabbits, songbirds, waterbirds, baby ducks, and even young burrowing owls. Females catch more insects, mostly during the day; males take most of the vertebrates, mostly at night.

When alarmed they jerk their bodies quickly up and down. They are active during the day.

Burrowing Owl