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Northern Saw-whet Owl
A Reference for North and Central American Owls

 The Northern Saw-whet Owl is said to be quite tame and approachable in the daytime where it will often perch quite low (maybe as low as 5 feet off the ground). Here you will find photos, recordings and a brief field notes section to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. A more in depth write up and range map can be found in its natural history page (the Biology link). To jump immediately to any of these sections use the Page Jump Links below.

Page Jump Links:
Photo Gallery
Additional photos
Audio Recordings
Field Notes
Biology

 

PHOTO GALLERY
Click on the thumbnail to bring up each of the Owl photos.

Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Butano State Park near Pescadero, San Mateo Co., California
January 1996

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Sugarcreek,
Ohio
January 2004
Northern Saw-whet Owlet
Uncompahgre Plateau,
Colorado
June 1999

Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Northern Saw-whet Owl Photo

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Goderich, Ontario, Canada on the eastern shore of Lake Huron
Octcber 2009
 
Silverado Canyon,
California
December 2008
 
Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area,
Marseilles Twp., Ohio
January 1996

Additional Photos

Photo 1
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Photo 2
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Photo 3
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Photo 4
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Photo 5
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Photo 6
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Photo 7
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Photo 8
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RECORDINGS
Click on the sonograms to bring up each of the recordings.
 

Sound File
55K
Silverado Canyon,
California
April 1999

The primary advertisement song. This is the major (male) vocalization.

FIELD NOTES
Northern Saw-whet Owl - Aegolius acadicus
 

 The Northern Saw-whet Owl along with the Boreal Owl are the North American representatives of the genus Aegolius. The two owls are similar in appearance although the Saw-whet is smaller, has a reddish brown back and chestnut chest streaking in contrast with the Boreal's generally deep brown color (similar pattern). The Saw-whet's whitish crown streaking also set it apart from the Boreal Owl's white crown spotting. The Saw-whet's bill is black and the sexes are alike but can be distinguished by call. The juvenal is reddish brown with a dark brown head and upper chest area, black facial disk with white from the top of the bill to the forehead. This owl lacks ear tufts but has a relatively large head. Length is 8" (about the size of a Baltimore or Bullock's Oriole). A nocturnal owl. 

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