Mexican Spotted Owl

Owl perched in a tree
Mexican spotted owls use their coloration to blend in with their surroundings.

NPS

 

Scientific Name

Strix occidentalis lucida

Identification

  • Unlike most owls, they have dark eyes. Flammulated owls, also found in the park, also have dark eyes, but they are much smaller than Mexican spotted owls.
  • These owls have an ashy-chestnut brown coloration with white spots on their breast, back, and head. Their brown tails are marked with thin white bands.
  • Females are larger than males, standing up to 18 inches (45cm) tall.
  • Juveniles less than 5 months have a downy appearance.
Habitat
  • Mexican spotted owls are found from central Mexico to southern Utah and Colorado.
  • In most of their range, spotted owls live in old-growth forests. In the Grand Canyon, they live in caves and ledges on the cliffs of narrow side canyons.
  • They do not build their own nest, but instead use stick platforms made by other birds, tree cavities, cliff platforms, and caves.
Behavior
  • Mexican spotted owls are nocturnal, and are most active at night.
  • The most common prey are rodents, including woodrats, mice, and pocket gophers.
  • Each pair will have 2-4 eggs per year. Spotted owls are most vocal during mating season and while they are raising their chicks, a period lasting from March through June. During this time of year, their common four-note hoot is heard in the early evening and just before dawn.
  • Chicks can fly short distances by the time they are 40-45 days old, and begin hunting at around 60-70 days old.
 

Last updated: March 16, 2016

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

(928) 638-7888

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