Burrowing Owl (species: Athene cunicularia) in Birds of Ecuador (Gaia Guide)
Athene cunicularia
Burrowing Owl

©dotcomdotbr: Athene cunicularia

©Joan Roca: Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

©BiteYourBum.Com Photography: Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Athene
Species Athene cunicularia



Distinguishing features

Burrowing owls have bright eyes; their beaks can be dark yellow or gray depending on the subspecies. They lack ear tufts and have a flattened facial disc. The owls have prominent whiteeyebrows and a white "chin" patch which they expand and display during certain behaviors, such as a bobbing of the head when agitated.

Adults have brown heads and wings with white spotting. The chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring, also depending on the subspecies. Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below. The juveniles have a buff bar across the upper wing and their breast may be buff-colored rather than white. Burrowing owls of all ages have grayish legs longer than those of other owls. (Wikipedia)


  • Up to 28 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Up to 61 cm



©Minzinho: Lighter green: summer breeding range Green: resident breeding range Blue: winter non-breeding range

Audio recordings


Recorded at Doutor Pedrinho, Santa Catarina in Brazil.

© Douglas Meyer

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