Love ItLove It

From a Really Big Owl to a Tiny Owl

The last owl we took a look at was the great gray owl, which is the largest owl in the world. Now we are going to go from a really big owl to a tiny owl; the flammulated owl (Psiloscops flammeolus).

Like all of the owls we’ve talked about thus far, flammulated owls are found in Montana and they breed here as well as elsewhere. Like most owls, it is also nocturnal. However, it is also different than most owls in a few ways.

For one thing, flammulated owls are only about 6 inches long. The females also weigh about 2.3 ounces and the males are somewhat smaller, at around 1.8 ounces. That is positively tiny for an owl. However, they have a 14-inch wingspan, which allows them to fly strongly and fast. 

Flammulated owls are also one of the very few migratory owls. They winter in Central America.

So what would such a tiny owl eat? That is yet one more way they are different than most owls. Their diet consists almost entirely of insects. Very rarely, they will eat a rodent, but that is normally limited to the tiniest rodents.

Flammulated owls are surprisingly numerous, though not as surprisingly, they aren’t often seen.

  • Question of

    What do you think of this owl?

    • It is cute
    • I like it
    • I don’t like it
    • No opinion
  • Question of

    Have you ever heard of a flammulated owl?

    • Yes
    • No


What do you think?

12 Points

Written by Rex Trulove


    • In the picture, they appear to be totally black. Incidentally, we once had a cat that had enormous eyes. We named it Mochus Lopes (pronounced “mok-us-lopes”). Mochus Lopes is Modoc Indian for “Owl Eyes”. 🙂

    • I think so, too. I imagine that if I saw one hunting, I wouldn’t know what it was, at least not at first. The chances of me actually seeing one are slim, but I’d love to.

  1. This is a new one to me, which is not surprising given that very few bird species are common to both North America and the British Isles. We do have the “little owl”, which is not quite as small as the one you describe. It is also an insect feeder, but not exclusively so.

    • I’m not sure that this is the smallest owl, but it is close. It is good that there are creatures out there that can educate and increase knowledge, though. I love it when that happens.

  2. I was not familiar with this kind of owl. It was interesting to know something new. You indicate the measures in inches and ounces, but not only me and other people are using a centimeter and a kilogram, and we have no stopping from these measures. If possible in brackets indicate them in cm and kilogram. Thanks.

    • That would be about 15 cm long and 65 g. Weight is more of an issue, but it isn’t hard to figure out inches to cm or vice versa. There are 2.54 centimeters per inch.