"Otis" (Photo courtesy www.joelsartore.com)
Distribution: Western Screech-Owls are found from southern Alaska through central Mexico, eastward through Colorado and central Texas.
Size: Western Screech-Owls are 8-9 inches long, have a wingspan of 18-24 inches, and weigh ¼ - ½ pound. Females are generally larger than males.
Diet: These owls feed on insects, birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Lifespan: Western Screech-Owls have an average life span of 2 years in the wild.
Reproduction: Breeding begins at 1 year of age. Nesting occurs in old woodpecker holes, cavities in Giant Saguaro Cacti and trees, and in holes in cliffs. Three to five eggs are incubated by the female for 26 days. The male provides most of the food for the female and young while the female incubates and broods. Fledging occurs around one month of age, but the young are still cared for by the parents for 5-6 weeks.
Did You Know?
- Western Screech-Owls are very similar to Eastern Screech-Owls. Until recently they were thought to be the same species. However, Westerns are slightly larger, and have a lighter colored upper beak (yellow-green as opposed to the Eastern's gray-black).
- Screech-owls are among the most common owls in the United States.