Northern Saw-whet Owl (species: Aegolius acadicus) in taxonomy (Gaia Guide)
Aegolius acadicus
Northern Saw-whet Owl

©Tom Benson: Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)

©Rick Leche - Photography: Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)

©Blake Matheson: Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Aegolius
Species Aegolius acadicus



Distinguishing features

It has a round, light, white face with brown and cream streaks; they also have a dark beak and yellow eyes. They resemble the Short-eared Owl, because they also lack ear tufts, but are much smaller. The underparts are pale with dark shaded areas; the upper parts are brown or reddish with white spots. (Wikipedia)


  • Up to 22 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Up to 56.3 cm



Distribution and habitat preferences

Their habitat is coniferous forests, sometimes mixed or deciduous woods, across North America. Most 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. They live in tree cavities and old nests made by other small raptors. Some are permanent residents, while others 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. (Wikipedia)

Audio recordings


Alarm call

© Lance A. M. Benner


Male recorded on a north-facing slope in an area with dense white fir and scattered Jeffrey pine, sugar pine, incense cedar, and white alder.

© Lance A. M. Benner


These birds wait on a high perch at night and swoop down on prey. They mainly eat small organisms with a focus on small mammals in their diet. (Wikipedia)

Web resources