Elf Owl

About the Elf Owl
Elf Owl
The Elf Owl is a small species of owl found in Mexico and southwestern parts of the United States. It is the world's lightest owl species and one of the smallest.

These tiny hunters are fierce nocturnal birds of prey. They feed on a variety of insets as well as lizards, snakes, and infant mammals like baby rats.

Elf Owls are cavity nesters, using woodpecker cavities drilled out of hardwood trees or saguaro cactus. Northern breeding birds migrate south for the winter, but others are year-round non-migratory residents in southern Baja California.

The longest-lived wild Elf Owl was recorded at 4 years and 11 months. In captivity, one individual lived for 14 years.
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Details & Statistics


The Elf Owl is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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