What do elf owls do?

Found nestled in recycled woodpecker holes in the deserts and canyons of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, elf owls favor insects and invertebrates, which they hunt on foot and by air. They fend off potential predators with a variety of loud vocalizations that make them sound larger than they are.

Are elf owls aggressive?

Unlike many owls, these birds are not aggressive and will “play dead” or retreat in a dangerous situation. This owl has more than a dozen different vocalizations, including a high-pitched whinny or chuckle. Elf Owls have declined as habitat has been developed for homes and agriculture.

How would you describe an elf owl?

The Elf owl is a small grayish-brown bird about the size of a sparrow found in North America. It has pale yellow eyes highlighted by thin white “eyebrows” and a gray bill with a horn-colored tip. Flight feathers of this tiny owl extend nearly past its tail. It also has fairly long legs and often appears bow-legged.

Are elf owls smart?

Not only is the elf owl the world’s smallest and lightest owl, it is also very cute and smart. When in danger, the elf owl hides its light-colored belly with its darker wings and successfully camouflages itself in the surroundings.

Can elf owls fly?

Most prey is captured in flight as Elf Owls are very maneuverable in flight. They hunt mainly by flying out from perches on trees, shrubs, or cacti to hawk flying insects or by flying over open ground.

Why is it called Elf Owl?

The owl is now the only species placed in the genus Micrathene that was introduced in 1861 specifically for the elf owl by American ornithologist Elliott Coues. The genus name combines the Ancient Greek mikros meaning “small” and the genus name Athene that had been introduced by Friedrich Boie in 1822.

Is a elf owl a predator?

More than 800 North American birds at your fingertips—all for free. And it’s a determined predator. Flying out from its tree cavity at dusk, the Elf Owl hunts beetles, crickets, and spiders, plus the odd lizard or mouse.

How do elf owls protect themselves?

Feet and Beak Like other birds in the raptor group, owls of all species use their beaks and talons to defend themselves. An owl’s feet are equipped with particularly long, sharp and curved claws, which he can dig into an adversary and use like hooks to tear and rip at flesh.

Can elf owls be pets?

The United States does not allow private individuals to keep native owls as pets–they may only be possessed by trained, licensed individuals while being rehabilitated, as foster parents in a rehabilitation facility, as part of a breeding program, for educational purposes, or certain species may be used for falconry in …

Why is an elf owl called an elf owl?

What are baby owls called?

owlet, commonly, any young owl; the term is also used as the general name for several diminutive African and Southeast Asian species of Glaucidium (see pygmy owl) and two little owls (Athene) of southern Asia (see little owl).

What do elf owls live in?

Elf Owls live in woodlands and desert cactus habitats in southwest Texas and southern Arizona [Editor’s note: New Mexico, too!]. In desert habitats, they often nest in woodpecker holes in tall saguaro cactus. They depart the US by October for warmer latitudes of Mexico, where insects are more available in winter.

Is an elf owl a prey?

Elf owl, ( Micrathene whitneyi ), tiny bird of prey of the family Strigidae (order Strigiformes) of Mexico and the southwestern United States. It is the smallest owl and is about the size of a sparrow.

How does the elf owl survive?

By getting enough water from the food they consume, they are able to survive in areas that completely lack surface water sources. Elf owl. An owl is a creature you might not expect to see in a desert, but the elf owl is quite at home in hot, sandy environments.

How does the elf owl Hunt?

Most prey is captured in flight as Elf Owls are very maneuverable in flight. They hunt mainly by flying out from perches on trees, shrubs, or cacti to hawk flying insects or by flying over open ground. They often hover over insect prey, causing the insects to take flight, then capture them in mid air.