WatchList Species Account for Flammulated Owl
(Otus flammeolus)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Flammulated Owl

Photo: Dick Cannings

Found in montane pine forests of the West, the Flammulated Owl is distributed patchily from southern British Columbia to southern Mexico, and east to Colorado and western Texas. In winter it remains in its breeding habitat, but is also found at lower elevations peripheral to breeding areas.


Winter range of this owl in Middle America is not well understood, but it may occur during nonbreeding as far south as Guatemala and El Salvador. In breeding it is found in or near open conifer forest with some large old trees, clearings, and thickets of saplings or shrubs. It roosts in dense vegetation and is apparently almost entirely insectivorous.


Although it is now thought to be common, perhaps the most abundant owl of western coniferous forest, no baseline information is available to measure population trends.


The greatest source of threat to the Flammulated Owl may be its low reproductive rate-the lowest clutch size of any North American owl. The bird may be vulnerable to incremental decreases in longevity or fecundity due to environmental pollutants; direct habitat destruction is also a potential threat. Cutting of dead trees for firewood and consequent loss of cavities destroys many potential nest sites, though the bird will make use of nest boxes.