US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Klute, D. S., L. W. Ayers, M. T. Green, W. H. Howe, S. L. Jones, J. A. Shaffer, S. R. Sheffield, and T. S. Zimmerman. 2003. Status Assessment and Conservation Plan for the Western Burrowing Owl in the United States. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-R6001-2003, Washington, D.C.


U. S. government work.


The Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) is a grassland specialist distributed throughout w. North America, primarily in open areas with short vegetation and bare ground in desert, grassland, and shrub-steppe environments. Burrowing Owls are dependent on the presence of fossorial mammals (primarily prairie dogs and ground squirrels), whose burrows are used for nesting and roosting. Burrowing Owls are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States and Mexico. They are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico. They are considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to be a Bird of Conservation Concern at the national level, in three USFWS regions, and in nine Bird Conservation Regions . At the state level, Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Minnesota, Threatened in Colorado, and as a Species of Concern in California, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.