Spotted Owl

Strix occidentalis caurina

Appearance

These owls are medium-sized with dark brown feathers, a round head, and large dark eyes. Their head and hind neck have white spots.

Range & Habitat

They are only found in North America from south western B.C. to Mexico. They live in dense old-growth forests, and build nests in a hole in a tree—usually an old nest of a squirrel or hawk. In B.C. the owls lives in the Coast and Mountains, and Georgia Depression ecoprovinces.

Diet & Behaviour

They eat their prey head first. They eat northern flying squirrel, rodents, squirrels, snakes, bats, voles, mice, woodrats, rabbits, insects and amphibians.

Lifecycle & Threats

Owlets are born in the spring and stay with their parents until the end of summer after which they disperse in the forest independently. They will breed when they are two to three years old and mate for life. They lay one or two eggs every March or April. Due to their small clutch size they are more susceptible to threats than other species with high reproduction rates. Juvenile mortality rates are 75-85%. Spotted owls have no major predators, but their biggest threat is loss of old-growth forest to logging. It is estimated that there are a total of 30 individuals in B.C., with only 6 of these in the wild.

Status

COSEWIC: Endangered
CDC: Red

More Information

www.defenders.org

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service