Elf Owl Photograph with Sound Recording

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Photo by Greg Clark

Elf OwlA migratory owl, the Elf Owl leaves its winter home in Mexico and arrives in Arizona in the spring, where it inhabits both desert and oak-sycamore habitats. The smallest owl in the world, the Elf Owl is a cavity nester in saguaro cactus in the desert and trees in upland habitat. During the day it can hide in its cavity, or remain motionless in thick foliage, and remain unseen. Like all cavity nesters, this owl must compete with other cavity nesting birds for the limited number of suitable nesting cavities. If the number of cavities is reduced it can put a lot of pressure on this bird. Perhaps because of habitat loss in California and Texas the Elf Owl population has fallen to the point that they are rare. In Arizona, saguaro cactus are protected and this has maintained a cavity supply in the desert, although the competition for the cavities will remain high.

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Copyright Greg Clark, 2002

update 8/2012