The boreal owl or Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus) is a small owl. It is known as boreal owl in North America, and in Europe typically as Tengmalm's owl after Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm or, more rarely, Richardson's owl after Sir John Richardson. The scientific name is from Latin. The genus name Aegolius is a type of screech owl, and funereus means "funereal".
|Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada|
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|Range of A. funereus
The boreal owl is 22–27 cm (8.7–10.6 in) long with a 50–62 cm (20–24 in) wingspan. The boreal owl has a weight range of 3.3-7.6 oz (93-215 g). It is brown above, with white flecking on the shoulders and whitish underparts with rust-colored streaks. (The plumage of young birds is chocolate brown.) Its head is large with yellow eyes and a white facial disc that is sometimes described as giving the owl a "surprised" expression. The beak is a light yellow, rather than dark like its relative the northern saw-whet owl. The boreal owl‘s flight is relatively noiseless and straight.
The boreal owl is an unsociable nocturnal owl. Its call is similar in sound to the "winnowing" of the North American Wilson's snipe. This species is not normally migratory, but in some autumns significant numbers move further south. It is rarely any great distance south of its breeding range, although this is partly due to the problems of detecting this nocturnal owl outside the breeding season when it is not calling.
The boreal owl breeds in dense coniferous forests across northern North America and the Palearctic, and in mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Rockies. It lays 3–6 eggs in a tree hole. Across much of Europe, and to a lesser extent in Asia and North America, naturalists and biologists put up nest boxes for these and other small owls.
Feeding and dietEdit
This small owl eats mainly voles and other mammals but also birds as well as insects and other invertebrates. It is largely nocturnal, though in the northernmost parts of its range, it is forced to hunt during daylight because of the very short nights in summer.
Banded boreal owls have been known to live up to 16 years. Due to the owl's small stature it is often preyed upon by other owls and large raptors thus decreasing its average life span.
Boreal owls have seven subspecies:
- A.f funereus (Linnaeus, 1758): nominate subspecies, from Scandinavia down south to the Pyrenees and east to the Urals, but not the Caucasus Mountains
- A.f. richardsoni (Bonaparte, 1838): the North American subspecies, from Alaska down the Rocky Mountains and as far east as Southeastern Canada and the Northeast US
- A.f. pallens (Schalow, 1908): from southeastern Siberia to Tien Shan in China
- A.f. caucasicus (Buturlin, 1907): Caucasus Mountains
- A.f. magnus (Buturlin, 1907): from Eastern Siberia from Kolyma to the Kamchatka peninsula
- A.f. sibiricus (Buturlin, 1910): widespread over Siberia
- A.f. beickianus Stresemann, 1928: from Northwest India to western China
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- "Aegolius funereus". Avibase.
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- , page 442
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