Barred owl

Barred owl
Strix varia

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
barred owl (en); coruja-raiada (pt); chouette rayée (fr); cárabo norteamericano (es); streifenkauz (de)

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

This species is found in southern Canada and throughout the eastern United States, and also the in the western United States in north-western Montana and from Washington south to northern California. There are also isolated populations in the mountain of central Mexico.

These birds are 43-51 cm long and have a wingspan of 99-111 cm. They weigh 470-1.050 g, with females tending to be larger than males.

The barred owl is mostly found in coniferous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, favouring mature forests with nearby open water. They also use tropical forests, wooded swamps, lakes and rivers, rural gardens and urban areas. They occur at altitudes of 1.300-3.100 m.

They hunt mainly right after sunset, and during the night, taking small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, birds up to the size of a grouse, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. They are also known to catch fishes.

Barred owls are monogamous and breed in February-August. They usually nest in an unlined natural tree cavity, but may also use lichens and pine needles for lining or use abandoned nests from other birds. The female lays 2-3 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 28-33 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 4-5 weeks after hatching, but only become fully independent about 5 months later. They reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 3 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 17% per decade of the last 4 decades, and has expanded in range in the Pacific Northwest.

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