The Mexican spotted owl occurs from southern Utah and Colorado south through the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas into the mountains of central Mexico (McDonald et
al. 1991). Gaps remain in our knowledge of the distributional pattern of the Mexican spotted owl within this range, however. This is especially true in Mexico, where very little of
the geographic range of the owl has been surveyed. Consequently, although the owl appears to be widely distributed in Mexico, we do not know whether its' range is fairly continuous
throughout the Sierra Madre and associated highlands, or whether it is restricted to scattered mountain ranges.
Information gaps also exist in the United States. For example, several mountain ranges in west-central Arizona remain unsurveyed, and numerous canyon systems that may contain
spotted owl habitat in southern Utah have not been surveyed for owls.
Despite these gaps, it is apparent that the Mexican spotted owl is widely but patchily distributed throughout its' range in the United States, with distribution reflecting the
availability of forested mountains and canyons, and in some cases rocky canyonlands. Consequently, the owl's habitat within the Southwest is naturally fragmented.