14 Hooty-ful Owls In Texas to see and hear

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Owls in Texas

The Owls of Texas hold a mysterious and captivating allure for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike. These nocturnal creatures add a charming touch to Texas’ already diverse wildlife.

Whether exploring the dense forests, venturing into the arid plains, or listening to their calls under the starry night sky, encountering an owl in Texas is a truly magical experience. 

What Are The Common Owls Of Texas?

The most common Owls in Texas include the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Burrowing Owl, Barn Owl, Elf Owl, Short-eared Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Long-eared Owl, Flammulated Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Spotted Owl, and Northern Pygmy-Owl.

This blog post will cover the fourteen types of owls throughout the state, from the iconic Great Horned Owl to the tiny Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Readers can learn about their unique adaptations, appearance, intriguing behaviors, and preferred habitats.

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a newcomer to the hobby, this post will enhance your appreciation for the incredible owls that call Texas home.

We have organized our list from most likely seen to the least likely to be seen for your convenience.

Texas Owls

According to the latest data from ebird, there are fourteen observed species of Owls in Texas. This data has been compiled from over 60,700 dedicated bird watchers throughout the state.

Here are some quick facts:

  • The Great Horned Owl is the most commonly observed Owl in Texas
  • Northern Pygmy-Owl are the least widely observed species in Texas
  • Great Horned Owls are the largest in Texas
  • Elf Owls are the smallest Owls in Texas

14 Types Of Owls In Texas

1. Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is a large and powerful eagle owl found throughout North and South America and is a year-round resident of Texas.

They are known for their great size, distinctive ear tufts, and intense yellow eyes.

  • Length: 46-63cm (18-25 inches)
  • Weight: 910-2500g (32-88oz)
  • Wingspan: 101-145cm (40-57 inches)
  • Great Horned Owl Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

Appearance

The Great Horned Owl is a large-bodied owl with broad, round wings and distinctive ear tufts.

Their plumage can vary depending on geographic location, but they are primarily brown and gray above, with bars and speckling. They have reddish brown faces, white throats, and large yellow eyes.

Habitat

Great Horned Owls are adaptable, and you can spot them in various habitats, including forests, deserts, grasslands, and urban areas. 

They are found throughout North, Central, and South America and can thrive in cold or warm climates.

Diet

They are nocturnal birds that eat a variety of mammals, including small rodents, opossums, and rabbits. 

They will also eat giant insects, reptiles such as snakes and lizards, and other large birds such as ducks, geese, and sometimes unsuspecting raptors such as hawks, owls, or falcons.

They hunt from an elevated perch and swoop down onto prey. Their powerful talons and strong beak allow them to catch and kill their prey quickly.

Nesting

Great Horned Owls rarely build their own nest but instead, use abandoned nests of other large birds. 

They typically lay 2-3 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. Females primarily incubate the eggs, and both parents take turns feeding their young.

Interesting facts

  • Great Horned Owls are known for their ability to take down prey larger than themselves.
  • These birds have excellent hearing and can locate prey in complete darkness.
  • They will store food away in winter and return later to feed. Often incubating their frozen meal to thaw it out.
  • They have few natural predators and can live up to 30 years in the wild.

2. Barred Owl

The Barred Owl is a large wood owl native to North America. They are non-migratory and inhabit the wooded Eastern United States and Northwestern Canada areas. They can be seen in the eastern Texas all year round.

  • Length: 43-50cm (17-20 inches)
  • Weight: 470-1050g (16.5-37oz)
  • Wingspan: 99-110cm (39-43 inches)
  • Barred Owl Scientific Name: Strix varia

Appearance

The Barred Owl is chunky looking, with a large head, no ear tufts, and a round tail.

They are brownish-grey above with white spots and a buff color below, with dark vertical bars on their chest and belly, and their tails have brown and white barring.

Habitat

They prefer to live in mature forests but can also be found in wooded swamps and along rivers. 

They can also be seen living in wooded residential areas and parks.

Diet

Barred Owls are nocturnal hunters feeding primarily on smaller mammals, such as mice, opossums, squirrels, and rabbits. They also eat birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians that live in swampy areas. 

They search for prey from an elevated perch and can sometimes be heard calling in the early morning or late evening.

Nesting

Barred Owls typically nest in large tree cavities but will also use abandoned nests of other large birds, such as Hawks.

They lay 2-3 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. Females incubate the eggs, and males provide the food for her and their young.

Interesting facts

  • Barred Owls have a unique call that sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” This call is often heard in forests at night. 
  • These birds have excellent hearing, which allows them to locate prey in complete darkness. 
  • They have adapted well to suburban and urban areas and can often be found in parks and backyards. 
  • They are known to rival another owl species, the Spotted Owl, for nesting sites and territory. 
  • They are sometimes called “hoot owls” because of their distinctive call.

3. Eastern Screech-Owl

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small nocturnal owl found in the eastern half of North America and is a year-round resident of Texas.

They are known for their distinctive ear tufts and ability to blend in with their surroundings.

  • Length: 16-25cm (6.3-9.5 inches)
  • Weight: 121-244g (4.3-8.6oz)
  • Wingspan: 48-61cm (19-24 inches)
  • Eastern Screech-Owl Scientific Name: Megascops asio

Appearance

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small, stocky owl with a large head, rounded wings, and a short square tail. They have distinctive ear tufts on the top of their heads, bright yellow eyes, and a yellowy-green bill.

They have two color morphs, either gray or reddish-brown above, with intricate patterns that allow them to seem camouflaged against tree bark. 

Habitat

Eastern Screech-Owls prefer to live in wooded areas, including forests, parks, and suburban areas with mature trees throughout eastern North America, from southern Canada to Florida and Texas.

Diet

Eastern Screech-Owls eat a variety of prey, but they primarily eat small rodents and large insects such as moths, crickets, and beetles. 

They also eat birds and small reptiles like snakes, lizards, and frogs. They forage at night and prefer to scan for prey from a perch and swoop down to catch prey.

Nesting

Eastern Screech-Owls nest in tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, and natural hollows in trees. 

They typically lay 4-6 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. The female primarily incubates the eggs, and the male provides food for her and their chicks.

Interesting facts

  • They are also known for their distinctive call, which sounds like whinnying. 
  • These birds have excellent hearing and can locate prey in complete darkness. 
  • They are known to regurgitate their prey’s bones, feathers, or fur.
  • They come in two color morphs, with gray being the most common.

4. Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl is a small, ground-dwelling owl in North and South America that can be seen throughout most of Texas all year round.

They are known for their long legs and comical appearance.

  • Length: 19-25cm (7.5-9.5 inches)
  • Weight: 130 -160g (4.5-6oz)
  • Wingspan: 50-55cm (19.5-21.5 inches)
  • Burrowing Owl Scientific Name: Athene cunicularia

Appearance

Burrowing Owls are small ground owls with long legs, short tails, and rounded heads. 

They are brown above with buffy white spots and lighter below with brown barring on their belly. They also have white throats, white eyebrows, and yellow eyes.

Habitat

Burrowing Owls prefer to live in open, grassy areas with low vegetation, such as prairies, deserts, and agricultural fields throughout North and South America, from Canada to Argentina.

Diet

Burrowing Owls hunt during the day and at night and eat a variety of prey, including large insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, moths, and scorpions, and smaller mammals such as voles, squirrels, and mice.

They are also known to eat small birds and reptiles and hunt by swooping down from an elevated perch, running prey down on the ground, or hovering above fields before grabbing prey with their talons.

Nesting

Burrowing Owls nest in underground burrows, which they dig themselves or use abandoned holes from other animals. 

Females lay 4-10 eggs per clutch, which she then incubates for a month while the males provides the food.

Interesting facts

  • Burrowing Owls are known for their habit of living in underground burrows.
  • Burrowing Owls are active during the day and at night, making them one of the few owl species active during the day. 
  • They are social birds and often live in colonies, with multiple pairs of owls sharing the same burrow complex. 
  • Due to habitat loss and other factors, Burrowing Owls are a threatened species in many areas.

5. Barn Owl

The Barn Owl is a beautiful and distinctive species of owl, known worldwide for its heart-shaped face and ghostly white appearance. They can be seen all year round throughout Texas.

  • Length: 32-40cm (12.5-15.8 inches)
  • Weight: 400-700g (14-24.7oz)
  • Wingspan: 100-125cm (39.5-49.2 inches)
  • Barn Owl Scientific Name: Tyto alba

Appearance

Barn Owls are medium-sized owls with a distinctive heart-shaped facial disc outlined in white and bordered by a brownish-orange rim.

They have long legs, long, rounded wings, and short tails.

They are a mottled rusty brown and gray above with fine black dots and streaks. Below they vary in color from white to light cinnamon.

Males are smaller than females, and the darkest colored Barn Owls are always female.

Habitat

You can spot Barn Owls in low-elevation open habitats such as grasslands, agricultural areas, wetlands, and forests worldwide.

Diet

Barn Owls feed primarily on rodents like mice, voles, and shrews but will also eat other small animals such as rabbits, birds, and insects.

They hunt mainly at night by flying low over open areas using their exceptional hearing and vision to locate prey. 

Nesting

Barn Owls do not build their nests, instead rely on natural or artificial cavities for their nests. These include hollow trees, barns, caves, church steeples, and nest boxes.

They lay 3-8 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. The female does most of the incubation, while the male brings food to the nest.

Interesting facts

  • The Barn Owl is one of the world’s most widespread species of owl. They are sometimes called the “ghost owl” because of their silent flight and pale appearance. 
  • Barn Owls’ specialized hearing system allows them to locate prey in complete darkness.
  • Barn Owls are considered to be a symbol of wisdom in many cultures around the world.

6. Elf Owl

The Elf Owl is the tiniest owl species in the world, measuring just 5-6 inches in length. They are native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and can be seen in southwest Texas during the spring and summer breeding months.

  • Length: 12-14cm (4.7-5.5 inches)
  • Weight: 35-55g (1.2-1.9oz)
  • Wingspan: Avg 33cm (13 inches)
  • Elf Owl Scientific Name: Micrathene whitneyi

Appearance

Elf Owls are small, with a round head, yellow eyes, long wings, and short tails. Their feathers are brownish-gray and white with buff to cinnamon-colored spots.

Habitat

You can spot Elf Owls in various habitats in the southwest United States and Mexico, including desert scrub, woodland canyons, and other lowland habitats that provide shelter and nesting opportunities.

Diet

Elf Owls are nocturnal hunters that feed on insects and arachnids, including moths, crickets, beetles, spiders, and scorpions.

They hunt at night by watching from a perch and using their excellent hearing and silent flight to catch prey on the ground, from vegetation, or in flight.

Nesting

Elf Owls nest in abandoned woodpecker holes in trees or cacti. They typically lay 2-4 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about three weeks.

The females incubate the eggs while the male provides food for her and their chicks.

Interesting facts

  • Elf Owls are the smallest raptor species in the world.

7. Short-eared Owl

The Short-eared Owl is a medium-sized owl common in many parts of the world and are residents of Texas during the colder non-breeding season.

They are known for their distinctive facial disk and the tufts of feathers that resemble ears.

  • Length: 34-43cm (13.4-17 inches)
  • Weight: 206-475g (7.3-16.8oz)
  • Wingspan: 85-103cm (33.5-40.5 inches)
  • Short-eared Owl Scientific Name: Asio flammeus

Appearance

Short-eared Owls have large rounded heads, small ear tufts, short tails, broad wings, and yellow eyes.

They have brownish feathers with white and dark streaks and a distinctive facial disk with black markings around their yellow eyes that resemble mascara. 

Their chest and belly are pale with brown streaks, and females are larger and appear darker than the males.

Their “ear tufts” stick up from the top of their head, giving them a slightly comical appearance.

Habitat

You can spot Short-eared Owls in open habitats such as grasslands, marshes, prairies, farmlands, and tundra. They are migratory owls whose range stretches across North America and parts of South America.

Diet

Short-eared Owls feed primarily on rodents such as voles, mice and lemmings. They will also eat small mammals such as rabbits, gophers, shrews, and birds along the coast.

They hunt by flying low over fields and grasslands, using their exceptional hearing to locate prey.

Nesting

Short-eared Owls females build their nest on the dry ground among tall grass or shrubs using feathers and grass.

They typically lay 3-11 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. Females primarily incubate the eggs, and males provide food for the females and the young.

Interesting facts

  • The Short-eared Owl is known for its distinctive flight pattern and buoyant, moth-like style. 
  • They are considered a species of concern in many parts of the world due to habitat loss and degradation.
  • They are one of the few owl species that are active during the day and night.

8. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a small owl species native to Central and South America. They can be seen mainly in the southern Texas all year round.

  • Length: 14-18cm (5.5-7.1 inches)
  • Weight: 53-79g (1.9-2.8oz)
  • Wingspan: Avg 30cm (11.9 inches)
  • Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Scientific Name: Glaucidium brasilianum

Appearance

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are tiny owls often mistaken for small songbirds due to their long tails, compact body, and round head.

Their plumage is predominantly reddish-brown or rusty-colored, hence the name “ferruginous,” with streaks of white and brown. They have bright yellow eyes and a “false eye” on their nape.

Habitat

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls live in various habitats, including mesquite woodlands, rainforests, deserts, open savannahs, and shrubby areas.

They are found across Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina, and can adapt to lowland and mountainous regions. Their range can extend to Mexican border areas with the United States in Texas and Arizona.

Diet

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls primarily feed on small animals and insects. Their diet includes lizards, small birds, rodents, large insects, and scorpions.

They primarily hunt at dawn and dusk, often ambushing their prey from perches and using their keen eyesight and hearing to locate and catch them.

Nesting

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls nest in tree cavities, using natural hollows or abandoned woodpecker holes as their nesting sites. They may also use artificial nest boxes.

The female lays 3-4 eggs, which hatch after about 4 weeks. The female incubates the eggs, and both parents provide food for the young.

Interesting facts

  • Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls have “false eyes” on their napes.
  • Despite their small size, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are known for their fierce and aggressive nature when defending themselves or their young.

9. Western Screech-Owl

The Western Screech-Owl is a small, nocturnal owl native to North and Central America. They can be seen in central and western Texas all year round.

  • Length: 19-25cm (7.5-9.5 inches)
  • Weight: 100-305g (3.5-10.8oz)
  • Wingspan: 55-61cm (21.5-24.5 inches)
  • Western Screech-Owl Scientific Name: Megascops kennicottii

Appearance

The Western Screech-Owl is a small owl with a stocky body, a short tail, yellow eyes, and tufts of feathers on their heads that resemble ears. 

Their feathers can be either gray, brown, or reddish-brown and are mottled throughout, giving them excellent camouflage in their woodland habitat.

Habitat

You can spot Western Screech-Owls in various habitats, including forests, open woodlands, deserts, parks, and suburban areas with trees.

Diet

Western Screech-Owls feed primarily on large insects and small mammals such as beetles, spiders, moths, centipedes, voles, mice, and tiny gophers.

They will also occasionally eat smaller birds and reptiles such as lizards and snakes.

They hunt by watching for prey from a perch and then swooping down to catch it with their talons.

Nesting

Western Screech-Owls nest in tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, Natural hollows, giant cacti, or nest boxes. 

They typically lay 2-5 eggs, which the female incubates for about a month while the male provides the food.

Interesting facts

  • Western Screech-Owls are known for their distinctive call, a series of soft trills and whistles.
  • These owls are primarily active at night but may also be seen sitting at the entrance to their holes during the day.
  • Western Screech-Owls will often take on prey larger than themselves.
  • These owls are sometimes preyed upon by larger birds of prey, such as the Great Horned Owl.
  • Western Screech-Owls are sometimes kept as pets or used in falconry.

10. Long-eared Owl

The Long-eared Owl is a medium-sized owl found worldwide and is a winter resident of Texas during the non-breeding season.

  • Length: 35-40cm (13.8-15.8 inches)
  • Weight: 220-435g (7.8-15.3oz)
  • Wingspan: 90-100cm (35.5-39.5 inches)
  • Long-eared Owl Scientific Name: Asio otus

Appearance

Long-eared Owls are medium-sized birds of prey with a wingspan up to three feet. They are slender-looking owls with narrow facial disks and long ear tufts.

Their feathers are a mix of brown, black, gray, white, and buff, which easily camouflage against their wooded habitats. They have yellow eyes set in vertical dark patches, streaks, and bars on their chest and bellies, and their facial disks are rusty brown.

The female Long-eared owl coloration is the same but darker and more streaked than the male.

Habitat

Long-eared Owls prefer to live in wooded areas that border open spaces, such as forests, meadows, and groves, where they can roost and hunt.

They are migratory owls and can be seen worldwide, including in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Diet

Long-eared Owls are nocturnal hunters that feed on a variety of prey. They primarily hunt small mammals, such as mice, rats, gophers, and voles, but will also prey on smaller birds and reptiles.

They hunt in open areas where they can fly back and forth from various perches, locating prey but sight or sound before swooping down to catch it with their powerful talons.

Nesting

Long-eared Owls nest in trees up to 30 feet above the ground. They do not build their own nest but instead use the abandoned nest of other large birds, such as crows, ravens, or hawks.

The female lays 4-6 eggs, which hatch after about a month. The female incubates the eggs, while the male provides food for her and their young.

Interesting facts

  • Long-eared Owls can be found roosting in groups called parliaments, especially during the winter months.

11. Flammulated Owl

The Flammulated Owl is a small owl that lives in the mountain regions of western North America and Mexico. They can be seen in southwest Texas during the fall and spring migration months and in the summer months during the breeding season.

  • Length: 15-17cm (5.9-6.7 inches)
  • Weight: 43-63g (1.5-2.2oz)
  • Wingspan: 40-41cm (15.9-16.1 inches)
  • Flammulated Owl Scientific Name: Psiloscops flammeolus

Appearance

Flammulated Owls are small birds of prey with small dark brown eyes, small ear tufts, and varied brownish-gray feathers that camouflage perfectly against tree bark. 

Their facial disk is a pale gray with a rusty color around the eyes and a gray bill.

They come in two color morphs, reddish-brown and gray, similar to Eastern Screech-Owls. 

Habitat

Flammulated Owls prefer to live in open pine forests in mountain regions throughout the western United States and Mexico.

Diet

Flammulated Owls primarily hunt insects, such as moths, crickets, and beetles, but will also eat spiders, scorpions, and centipedes.

They hunt primarily at dawn and dusk by watching from perch before flying out to catch insects in the air or on the ground.

Nesting

Flammulated Owls nest in natural cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or tree snags. They will also use artificial nest boxes if available.

The female lays 2-3 eggs, which hatch after about three weeks. The female primarily incubates the eggs, and the male provides food for her and their young.

Interesting facts

  • Flammulated Owls have a unique call that makes them sound larger than they are.
  • These birds are primarily active at night and are rarely seen during the day. Their camouflaged feathers make them near impossible to spot during the day.
  • Flammulated Owls are migratory birds and travel to Central America for the winter.

12. Northern Saw-whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a tiny owl common throughout most of North America and a resident of northern Texas during the colder non-breeding season.

  • Length: 18-21cm (7-8.3 inches)
  • Weight: 65-151g (2.3-5.3oz)
  • Wingspan: 42-48cm (16.5-19 inches)
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl Scientific Name: Aegolius acadicus

Appearance

Northern Saw-whet Owls are tiny birds of prey, with large rounded heads. They are about the same size as a Hairy Woodpecker.

They are reddish-brown above and white below with reddish streaks. They have white streaks and spots on the edges of their reddish facial disks, yellow eyes, and a dark bill.

Habitat

Northern Saw-whet Owls prefer to live in wooded areas and forests, especially those with various kinds of coniferous trees throughout much of North America, including Canada and the United States.

Diet

Northern Saw-whet Owls primarily hunt small mammals that live in the forest, such as mice and voles, but will also prey on smaller birds and large insects.

They hunt almost exclusively at night by watching or hearing prey from a perch before swooping to grab it with their talons.

Nesting

Northern Saw-whet Owls nest in trees up to 60 feet above the ground, usually in a natural cavity or a large abandoned woodpecker hole.

The female lays 5-6 eggs, which hatch after about a month. The females incubate the eggs and feed the young with food provided by the male.

Interesting facts

  • The Northern Saw-whet Owl is named for their “sawing” sound, which sounds like a saw being sharpened on a whetstone.
  • These birds are primarily nocturnal and are rarely seen during the day.
  • Northern Saw-whet Owls are sometimes preyed upon by larger owls, such as Great Horned Owls and Barred Owls. 
  • These birds are relatively long-lived for their size, with some individuals living up to nine years in the wild.

13. Spotted Owl

The Spotted Owl is a large owl species native to the western half of North America and is a year-round resident of southwest Texas.

They are known for their distinctive spotted plumage and preference for old-growth forests.

  • Length: 47-48cm (18.5-18.9 inches)
  • Weight: 500-700g (17.6-24.7oz)
  • Wingspan: Avg 101cm (38.9 inches)
  • Spotted Owl Scientific Name: Strix occidentalis

Appearance

Spotted Owls have a unique spotted plumage, with brown feathers marked with white spots. They have round heads, short tails, broad rounded wings, and large dark eyes surrounded by blurred concentric circles.

Habitat

You can see Spotted Owls in old-growth forests in western North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

They prefer to live in dense forests with tall trees and various understory vegetation. They are sensitive to habitat fragmentation and depend on large contiguous forest areas.

There are three regional sub-subspecies of Spotted Owl:

  1. Northern Spotted Owl – Lives in mature forests from northern California to British Columbia.
  2. Mexican Spotted Owl – Lives in mature forests from Utah and Colorado to Mexico.
  3. California Spotted Owl – Lives in mature forests throughout California.

Their plumage will appear lighter the more southerly the range.

Diet

They feed primarily on small mammals such as mice, flying squirrels, woodrats, small rabbits, and voles but also eat smaller birds, insects, and reptiles.

They hunt primarily at night by watching from a perch before swooping to catch prey with their talons. 

Nesting

Spotted Owls typically nest in a sheltered place such as an old tree hollow, crevice, or old hawk nest in large, old-growth trees.

They usually lay 1-3 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month. The female incubates the eggs while the male provides food for her and their young.

Interesting facts

  • Spotted Owls are considered an indicator species for old-growth forest ecosystems, as they depend on these habitats for nesting and foraging.
  • Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, they are listed as a threatened species under the US Endangered Species Act.
  • There are three subspecies of Spotted Owl, the Northern, California, and the Mexican Spotted Owl.

14. Northern Pygmy-Owl

Northern Pygmy-Owls are small owls living in North America’s western half. Their range sometimes extends into west Texas all year round.

  • Length: 16-18cm (6.2-7 inches)
  • Weight: Avg 62.3g (2.2oz)
  • Wingspan: Avg 38cm (15 inches)
  • Northern Pygmy-Owl Scientific Name: Glaucidium gnoma

Appearance

Northern Pygmy-Owls are small birds of prey, with a length of about 6-7 inches and a wingspan of up to 15 inches. They have large, round heads, long tails, short wings, and yellow eyes.

Their feathers are grayish-brown above and white with dark streaks below. They have white spots on their crown and a noticeable “false eye” on the back of their neck or nape.

Females have a more reddish-brown plumage than the males.

Habitat

You can spot Northern Pygmy-Owls in open coniferous forests and woodlands in the foothills, mountains, and canyons of the western United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Diet

Northern Pygmy-Owls feed on various prey but primarily hunt smaller birds and mammals, such as songbirds, voles, and mice. They will also eat large insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, and lizards.

They are aggressive little hunters that primarily hunt during the day by watching from a perch before quickly pursuing prey. 

Nesting

Northern Pygmy-Owls nest in natural tree cavities and abandoned Texas woodpecker nests up to 25 feet from the ground.

The female lays 2-7 eggs, which hatch after about four weeks. Females will incubate the eggs and feed the chicks any prey the male brings to the nest.

Interesting facts

  • Songbirds will often mob any Northern Pygmy-Owls in the area, which provides birdwatchers with a noticeable sign of where to spot these tiny owls.
  • They are one of the few species of owls primarily active during the day.
  • Despite their small size, Northern Pygmy-Owls are fierce predators known to take down prey much larger than themselves. 
  • They are known to aggressively defend their nests against potential predators, including larger birds and mammals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of owls live in Texas?

Fourteen kinds of owl species live in Texas during the year. These include the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Burrowing Owl, Barn Owl, Elf Owl, Short-eared Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Long-eared Owl, Flammulated Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Spotted Owl, and Northern Pygmy-Owl.

Are there screech owls in Texas?

Yes, both Eastern and Western Screech-Owls can be found in Texas. Eastern Screech-Owls are the most common screech owls in the state and can be found throughout most of Texas. Western Screech-Owls are rarer and only inhabit portions of west Texas near New Mexico.

Are there great horned owls in Texas?

Yes, Great Horned Owls are typical Texas owls and can be found throughout the state all year round.

Are there barred owls in Texas?

Yes, Barred Owls are common throughout much of eastern Texas all year round.

Are there snowy owls in Texas?

No, the Snowy Owl is not native to Texas. They can only be found in the northern United States and Canada during winter. However, they have been seen in Texas during rare, irruptive years.

What is the biggest Owl in Texas?

The Great Horned Owl is the biggest in Texas and is a little larger than a Red-tailed Hawk.

Keep An Eye Out For The Owls of Texas

Texas is home to various types of owls in all shapes and sizes, from large Great Horned Owls to the smaller Elf and Pygmy-Owls. Texas provides an excellent opportunity to observe these fantastic birds.

Most owls can be found year-round throughout the state, with some species only inhabiting certain regions during the breeding and non-breeding seasons.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just someone who enjoys learning about nature, taking some time to learn about the fourteen species of owls in Texas will provide you with the info you need to identify and appreciate them.

We hope this article has provided all the information you need. If you have questions about identifying more species of birds in Texas or finding out which ones live near you, let us know!

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I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

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