Most people think of owls as big, wise-looking birds with wings when they hear the word.


On the other hand, if you see an Elf Owl, this won’t be the case.

The Elf Owl looks like an elf, even though it is only a little bigger than a sparrow.


The Elf Owl is the smallest species of raptor in the world.

Along the southern border of the United States and Mexico, they live in dry thorn forests, deserts, pine-oak forests, and riparian woodlands.

Audubon says that the destruction of their natural habitat has caused the number of Elf Owls to become “scarce” along the lower Colorado River and in southern Texas.

Even though this is the case, there are still a lot of them spread out in many parts of southern Arizona.

A source says that the Elf Owl is about the same size as other songbirds in the areas where it lives, and it also acts like other songbirds.


They often live in the holes that other woodpeckers have made in trees, but they also live in other kinds of trees.

These nests are very important to their survival because they keep them warm and protect them from the weather. It also keeps other owls, snakes, foxes, and coyotes, which could be dangerous, from getting to the ringtail.

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Like other desert birds that nest in holes, elf owls make spaces that look like condos by stacking several holes on top of each other and putting them along the sides.

This is also how Brown-crested Flycatchers, Gilded Flickers, Gila Woodpeckers, Elegant Trogons, Western Screech-Owls, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers build their nests.


Tree ants are another common creature found in the nests of elf owls. These ants clean up any leftover food scraps and parasites that they find.

Elf Owls hunt at night and eat a wide range of animals, such as insects, anthropods, moths, beetles, crickets, katydids, scorpions, spiders, and sometimes even lizards and other small vertebrates.


You can hear Elf Owls at night if you listen to a sound like a puppy barking. This sound comes from the males. They make a sound that sounds like they are barking.

Some people might think that the Elf Owl is a very strange bird. Unlike many other types of raptors, elf owls don’t hunt snakes to eat them.

They hunt snakes and bring them back to their nests, where the snakes eat any parasites that might make it hard for the owls’ young to grow up.


People have seen groups of elf owls work together to kill owls, snakes, or mammals that are bigger or stronger and pose a threat to their population.

This strategy, called “mobbing,” is good at keeping predators away because it takes away their ability to sneak up on their prey and catch them by surprise.

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In addition, young birds are better able to recognize the birds and animals that could harm them.

But sometimes the Elf Owl is surrounded by other types of birds. These birds can be small, like wrens and warblers, or big, like the American Robin, or even Bushtits and Bridled Titmice.

It is thought that the oldest Elf Owl ever recorded lived for a total of five years and ten months.


During the breeding season, males will sing loudly and continuously all night long to attract females and protect their territory.

They sing songs from inside their nests to try to get female birds to come there and lay eggs. During courtship, men will feed the women they are interested in.

The tops of the round heads of Elf Owls are not covered with feathers or “ear tufts.” They don’t have anything on their heads.

Their eyes are a light yellow color, and thin white lines that look a bit like eyebrows draw attention to the shape of their eyes.


Have you ever encountered an elf Owl? If so, do share with us in the comments section below! Pictures would be a plus!