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COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Burrowing Owl in Canada

COSEWIC Status Report
on the
Burrowing Owl
Athene cunicularia
in Canada

Species Information

Name and Classification

English name:
Burrowing Owl
French name:
Chevêche des terriers
Scientific name:
Athene cunicularia (Molina)


The Burrowing Owl is a small, terrestrial owl that inhabits open habitats and typically occurs in close association with burrowing mammals. Adults are drably coloured with a blend of brown, and white, with cream spotting. They typically perch on the ground on mounds, or on short perches (e.g., fenceposts), and fly low to the ground with rapid wingbeats.

Nationally Significant Populations

Currently there are no nationally significant populations recognized. However, current research in Alberta and Saskatchewan is attempting to identify both critical habitats and centres of population abundance (T. Wellicome, pers. comm., October 2005).