Elf Owl

About the 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.
Elf Owl Find cute products & gifts with our Birdorable Elf Owl
Shop Now

Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 25 December 2015
Scientific Name
Micrathene whitneyi
  • Strigiformes
  • Strigidae
  • Micrathene
  • M. whitneyi
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 23 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
4.9 to 5.7 inches
10.5 inches
1.4 ounces


International Names

Chinese (汉语) 娇鸺鹠
Czech (Cesky) kulíšek trpasličí
Danish (Dansk) Alfeugle
Dutch (Nederlands) Cactusuil
Finnish (Suomi) kaktuspöllö
French (Français) Chevêchette des saguaros
German (Deutsch) Elfenkauz
Italian (Italiano) Elfo
Japanese (日本語) サボテンフクロウ [sabotenfukurou]
Norwegian (Norsk) Alveugle
Polish (Polski) sóweczka kaktusowa
Portuguese (Português) Mocho-duende
Russian (русский язык) Сычик-эльф
Spanish (Español) Mochuelo de los Saguaros
Swedish (Svenska) Kaktusuggla
More Products

Cute gifts with this bird

Design with this bird

Related articles

International Owl Awareness Day

International Owl Awareness Day

Celebrate owls with us on this #InternationalOwlAwarenessDay! This commemorative holiday is meant to raise awareness and spread knowledge of all of the birds in the owl family. Did you know that there are ... more