Flammulated Owl is the second smallest owl found in the United States, second
only to the Elf Owl of the
Southwestern U.S. They are found in coniferous forests of the west, where
they primarily pursue insects and spiders. They are difficult to observe
and their exact population status is unknown in many areas. They are very
closely related to screech owls, and appear very similar to them, other than
their distinctive dark eyes, smaller size, and shorter ear tufts.
Habitat: Typically found in open conifer forests of
mountain areas in the western U.S. They also can be found in aspen groves
in some areas.
Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on large insects,
especially moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles, Also feeds on spiders.
Unlike most owls, very rarely if ever feeds on vertebrates such as small
Behavior: Primarily forages by observing from a perch
and flying out to capture insects when spotted, mostly by hovering and gleaning
them from foliage and tree branches, but sometimes by catching them in mid-air.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Quiet soft hoot, often repeated every few
Migration: Found in suitable forest habitat throughout
the western U.S. in summer months. Strongly migratory, with U.S. birds
moving southward to Mexico or Central America for the winter.
Conservation Status: Populations appear to be stable,
with local declines where suitable forest has been destroyed.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Flammulated Owl
eNature.com - Flammulated Owl
Photo Information: January 28th, 2006 - Photo from