Boreal Owl

Aegolius funereus

Boreal Owl


These owls are small (20 to 30 centimetres long), and have a white face and a dark, spotted outline. They have yellow eyes and bill and sharp black claws.

Range & Habitat

They live mostly in northern forests around the world. In North America they are found as far south as New Mexico. They live in many different types of forests but prefer old-growth forests, where they have access to trees with nesting cavities.

Diet & Behaviour

Boreal owls hunt at night by perching on low branches and listening with their incredible hearing. The position of their ears allows them to locate their prey before swooping down to grab it. They mainly eat small rodents (especially voles) but will also hunt for small birds, squirrels, frogs and beetles.

Lifecycle & Threats

They are cavity nesters, making their home in a natural cavity or an old woodpecker hole. The female sits on the three to eight eggs while the male brings food. The young leave the nest after about a month and are looked after by the parents for four to six weeks. Boreal owls require large old-growth forests, and their populations have been affected by habitat loss.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: ajburcar