Northern Spotted Owl
FWS Focus

Overview

The northern spotted owl is a medium-sized, dark brown owl with a barred tail, white spots on the head and breast, and dark brown eyes surrounded by prominent facial disks. Males and females have similar plumage, but females typically weigh 10 to 20 percent more than males.

Characteristics
Overview

The northern spotted owl is the largest of three subspecies of spotted owls, and inhabits structurally complex forests from southwestern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon, and into northern California. The northern spotted owl is relatively long-lived, has a long reproductive life span, invests significantly in parental care, and exhibits high adult survivorship relative to other North American owls. Northern spotted owls are medium-sized, chocolate brown owls with dark eyes, and they have round or irregular white spots on their head, neck, back, and underparts.

Scientific Name

Strix occidentalis caurina
Common Name
Northern Spotted Owl
FWS Category
Birds
Kingdom

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers

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Characteristics

Characteristic category

Food

Characteristics
Food

Northern spotted owls are nocturnal "perch-and-pounce" predators that captures prey with their claws. They primarily eat small forest mammals such as flying squirrels, woodrats, voles, and mice. 

Characteristic category

Habitat

Characteristics
Habitat

 

Forest

Land covered by evergreen trees in cool, northern latitudes. Also called taiga.

Characteristic category

Behavior

Characteristics
Behavior

 

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Lifecycle

Characteristics
Lifespan

 

Reproduction

 

Geography

Characteristics
Range

 

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