Elf Owl Facts for Kids

Elf owl (Micrathene Whitneyi) is the lightest owl in the world. It inhabits southern United States and Mexico. In order to deceive the predator, elf owl acts like a dead bird (called ‘playing dead’). In size, it is as small as a sparrow. It makes ‘chuckling’ and ‘yapping’ kind of sounds.

Its plumage is brownish-gray in color. There are no ear tufts on its head. It has a gray bill and pale yellow eyes. Elf owls have acute senses of hearing and night vision.

It can grow from a length of about 4.9 to 5.7 inches. The size of its wingspan is 10.5 inches.

In the wild, it has lifespan of 3 to 6 years. However, in captivity, elf owls live longer for about 10 years.

It lays a clutch size of about 2 to 4 eggs. The female incubates for about 3 weeks. After about 10 weeks, the chicks are ready to fledge.

They are present in Baja California and all the way up to Central Mexico from southwest part of United States. During summer and spring, it flies toward New Mexico and Arizona. In winter, it migrates to southern Mexico.

Normally, elf owl nests in the cracks of trees like oak, saguaro, cottonwoods and sycamores. They are usually found along the edges of water and also areas around saguaro cactus. These nests are as high as 15 to 35 feet above the ground.

The primary diet of elf owl consists of insects. They also eat centipedes, scorpions, moths, beetles and crickets.

The predators of elf owls are ring-tailed cats, American jackals, snakes, bobcats and other owls.

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