elf owl

Elf Owl

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The elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi) is a small grayish-brown bird concerning a sparrow spotted in the Southwestern United States, central Mexico, and the Baja California peninsula. It has light yellow eyes highlighted by slight white “eyebrows” and a gray bill with a horn-colored tip. The elf owl usually resides woodpecker breaks in saguaro cacti; it also nests in natural tree cavities. It is nighttime and serves essentially on insects.

The Elf Owl is a small, short-tailed owl with a round head and no ear-tufts. It was initially identified as Whitney’s Owl. The species name whitneyi is a Latinised word developed from the last name of Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896), a prominent American geologist.

Content Overview

Description

Characteristics

Appearance

Behavior

Speech and Vocalizations

Habitat

Diet

Conservation

Facts

Description

Elf owls are often found in the upland deserts of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico; their range also develops into parts of California, New Mexico, and Texas. Most are three populations that breed in the United States-Mexico border and employ the winter in southern Mexico.

The Elf Owl can be found executing its home in a diversity of habitats. Amongst them are mountain meadows, canyons, and ravines. Some regions where they exist constitute Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California. They will relocate essentially into Mexico during the winter periods. They will frequently discover these desert fields that also have some water throughout them.

Characteristics

Elf owl Facts

  • Other Names: Whitney’s Owl, Dwarf Owl
  • Length: 12.5 to 14.5 cm (4.9 to 5.7 in)
  • Wingspan: around 27 cm (10.5 in)
  • Tail: 4.6 to 5.3 cm (1.8 to 2.1 in).
  • Weight: around 40 g (1.4 oz)
  • Eyes: round with yellow border
  • Legs: long and appear bow-shaped
  • Lifespan: up to 3 to 10 years
  • Diet: exclusively insects

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Strigidae
  • Genus: Micrathene
  • Species: Micrathene whitneyi

Appearance

The Elf owl is a little grayish-brown bird concerning the size of a sparrow found in North America. It has light yellow eyes highlighted by small white “eyebrows” and gray skin with a horn-colored tip. The flying wings of this small owl spread almost beyond its tail. It also has moderately long legs and frequently seems bow-legged.

Elf Owls do not have “ear tufts” of wings on the top of their rounded heads. Alternatively, their wings are grayish brown. The wings on it are very increased, providing it a swollen look. The overall coloring is a light brown but with darker brown designs on the stomach area.

Behavior

The sounds from the Elf Owl are very high-pitched. They offer sounds that are related to whistles and squeaks. They are very good at hiding in clear view. When an Elf Owl smells danger, it will attempt to camouflage its body toward a tree in several positions. It is frequently very auspicious as portraying itself as a broken section. If that isn’t victorious, they will catch flying as fighting isn’t in their nature.

Elf owls are night-loving; several of their movement happens at dusk and before dawn. They travel by walking and leaping, and they can climb like parrots. When elf owls hunt, they seem in a straight line. However, they also fly in U-shaped curves between perches and seldom do they glide and fly.

Speech and Vocalizations

Elf Owls have numerous different vocalizations. The primary exhibit sound of the male is a high-pitched yip “whi-whi-whi-whi-whi”. Five to 20 marks are given through every sequence, and calls can be substantially constant through the night. Calling is common intense throughout the early evening and near dawn on moonlit spring nights. A shorter variant of this song attracts females to possible nest sites.

Mated couples may also duet, but the female’s tune is more flexible and more diminutive. The female releases a short “peeu” note to support the male discover her. The male can provide a short flying song, “CHU-ur-ur” when he gives a cavity that he has been “showing” to his partner. When disturbed, both members deliver an obvious “cheeur”, which is frequently repeated. Nestlings provide a constant grinding call when hungry.

Habitat

The Elf Owl is habitats in Saguaro deserts and wooded canyons. In its United States range, observed in some lowland habitat affording protection and suitable nesting hollows. They are most prevalent in deserts with several tall saguaro cactus or large mesquites and canyons in the foothills, particularly throughout sycamores or large oaks. They are observed in ravines, canyons, plateaus, and on mountain slopes.

They are most plentiful in deserts dominated by giant saguaro and detected in the most significant woody habitats within their sphere without pure pine stands. In the Sonoran Desert area, elf owls are detected essentially in riparian habitats, water-rich areas, or in regions where saguaro cactus are abundant.

Diet

Elf owls are carnivorous, or especially, essentially insectivorous, and devour insects, particularly those that are night-loving, including moths, crickets, scorpions, centipedes, and beetles. They are also identified to consume small birds and lizards. However, they initially consume invertebrates, including crickets, moths, centipedes, and even beetles.

They can detect insects in flight, catching them with their feet or nose. Seldom elf owls hunt insects on the territory and struck them from plants. Elf owls leave their food back and forth among their feet and nose to kill, pluck, and consume it. Elf owls maintain prominent victims in cavities to feed them at a later time.

Conservation

The elf owls have sufficiently obtained everywhere their habitat and registered by the IUCN 3.1 as Least Concerned. Not globally endangered, though communities are in a drop in various regions due to lack of habitat in riparian and desert regions.

The Elf Owl Has becomes uncommon along with the lower Colorado River and southern Texas, apparently because of habitat loss. Yet, they are prevalent in numerous portions of southern Arizona. Like developing water diversion and home construction, specific activities have decimated these desert and riparian regions and increased invasive species.

Facts

Here are some fascinating facts about The Elf Owl.

  • Hungry juveniles peep or make soft squeaking sounds, twitter calls, and rasp at a rate of up to 48 times a minute.
  • The elf owl is capable of producing almost a dozen different vocalizations. A high-pitched chuckle is one of them.
  • The subspecies Socorro elf owl is thought to have gone extinct around 1970.
  • An elf owl named Gylfie represents a significant part of the Kathryn Lasky book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Its film adaptation was released in 2010.
  • Another elf owl also plays the leading character in a techno-thriller by Sam Biondo named The Elf Owl and Imagined Amenities.
  • It has been recognized that if this owl kills a scorpion to consume, it will extract the stinger before consumption.

 

Feature Image Source By: Photo by Amol Mande from Pexels

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