Northern Saw-whet Owl

Photo by Bob Gress


Common Name: Northern Saw-whet Owl

Scientific Name: Aegolius acadicus


Length: 7 - 8 inches
Wingspread: 19 - 20 inches
Weight: 3 - 4 ounces


Comments: This is our smallest owl and is distinguished from screech-owls by its smaller size and lack of ear tufts. It is rarely encountered in Kansas due to its completely nocturnal habits and its preference to spend the day roosting in a tree cavity. It gets its name from its call that resembles the metallic sound made while filing a saw.

Distribution: The northern saw-whet owl is a rare winter transient to Kansas.

Food: Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, frogs and insects. This tiny owl will not always eat its entire kill. With mammals and birds it sometimes eats only the head or brains.