Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Western Screech-Owl Otus kennicottii

Western Screech-Owl Otus kennicottii This pint-size owl was formerly thought to be identical to the Eastern Screech-Owl (0. asio). The two birds have distinct ranges and very different vocalizations; the western species gives a series of whistled notes that speeds up at the end. In the humid forests of the Pacific Ni Northwest, there is a rare reddish color phase of the Western Screech-Owl.

Identification 7-11". Small, with mottled upperparts and prominent ear tufts. Underparts whitish, with streaks and bars. Some geographical variation: Birds from drier areas tend to be paler gray, those from humid areas browner.

Voice A series of 7-20 soft, whistled notes, starting slowly and speeding up, and all on 1 pitch. Also a short trill and various yelping and barking noises.

Habitat Woodlands and forests, especially streamside areas with oaks.

Range SE. Alaska south along coast; east along Canadian border to S. Alberta and N. Montana, and south to Mexico. Does not migrate.

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