Taxonomic name:  Athene cunicularia

Conservation Status: Least Concern (Global - IUCN); Endangered (Canada - COSEWIC). The burrowing owl is one of the most endangered birds in Canada’s prairie grasslands.  It's estimated that between 500 and 800 owl pairs currently breed in Canada. In Manitoba, the population has declined from over 100 pairs in the early 1980s to under 10 in 2012.

Wild Range: Open grassland, prairies, farmland, and airfields in North America

Diet: Mainly insects such as grasshoppers, and small mammals; may eat frogs, toads, lizards, and snakes

Longevity in the wild: Average 3 to 4 years in the wild

Size: 19-25 cm long; 155 cm wingspan

Weight: 125-185g

Fun fact: Burrowing owls may hunt through flight, by walking, or will sprint using their long, thin, powerful legs. Burrowing owls are the only North American owl that nests in the ground. They do not dig their burrows, instead, they rely on animals like badgers, foxes, ground squirrels and coyotes to dig the burrows for them.

Our Veterinary Team and Conservation and Research Team have been involved in recovery efforts with the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program since 2012. 

Visit burrowing owls, Ajax, Frieda, and Freya, at the Zoo in the Prairie Outpost!