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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Flammulated Owl -- Otus flammeolus

RANGE: Breeds locally from southern British Columbia, southern Idaho, and northern Colorado south to southern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and Mexico. Winters in Mexico, casually north to southern California.

STATUS: Rare to locally common.

HABITAT: Inhabits forests of the western mountains, mostly from 4,500 to 7,800 feet but as high as 10,000 feet elevation. Prefers woods with dense, thicket-like cover close to relatively open areas. Favors ponderosa pine forests but also occurs in forests of spruce-fir, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, aspen, and pinyon-juniper.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Some undergrowth or intermixture of oaks in the forest.

NEST: Usually nests in abandoned flicker or other woodpecker nest cavities from 7 to 25 feet above ground in aspen, oaks, or pines. Will forceably evict a flicker if an abandoned cavity is not available; rarely nests in holes constructed by bank swallows.

FOOD: Consumes a diet of insects and other invertebrates such as spiders, scorpions, and centipedes; prefers moths, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers and will sometimes eat small birds and small mammals.

REFERENCES: Coats in Farrand 1983b, Heintzelman 1979, Karalus and Eckert 1974, Oberholser 1974a, Phillips et al. 1964.

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