Boreal Owl

(Aegolius funereus)

Conservation Status


No Image Available

  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N4 - Apparently Secure

SNRB, SNRN - Unranked Breeding and Nonbreeding


Special Concern

Species in Greatest Conservation Need






9 to 12 in length

21½ to 29wingspan




Similar Species


Mature coniferous and mixed forests near open grassy areas; alder, aspen, or spruce thickets
















Rare and local year-round resident




The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

  Class Aves (birds)  


Strigiformes (owls)  


Strigidae (typical owls)  




Aegolius (forest owls)  

Subordinate Taxa


Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus funereus)

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus pallens)

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus beickianus)

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus sibiricus)

Caucasian Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus caucasicus)

Richardson’s Owl (Aegolius funereus richardsoni)

Tengmalm’s Owl (Aegolius funereus magnus)




Strix funerea











Visitor Photos

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Boreal Owl - Aegolius funereus
dr. Ozda
  Boreal Owl - Aegolius funereus  
Boreal Owls
Chris Wood
  Boreal Owls  
Boreal owl
Ray Pregent
  Boreal owl  
Pärluggla / Boreal Owl
Stefan Berndtsson
  Pärluggla / Boreal Owl  



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Other Videos
  Boreal Owl Hunting in Daylight

Published on Feb 14, 2013

Boreal Owl is one of the most secretive and little seen species in North America. These fairly small owls are highly nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. They inhabit fairly inaccessible terrain from the Rocky Mountains to across much of the boreal forest. Birds are most often detected in March, when their snipe-like winnowing songs can be heard. With patience, lucky observers can sometimes track one down and see it, but any sighting of a Boreal Owl is something worth treasuring.

At irregular intervals, birds across the boreal forest irrupt into southern Canada and the Upper Midwest and, rarely, the Northeastern US. Irruptions are caused by a crash in vole populations or, locally, when very deep snow or crust of ice forms over snow that makes it difficult for the owls to hunt. During those invasions, birds have shown up in unlikely locales including New York City's Central Park.

During the first weekend of February, I was fortunate to be leading a trip to Minnesota that coincided with one of these movements. We saw SEVEN Boreal Owls in a single day. Temperatures were bitterly cold, with wind chill values reaching 30 degrees below zero. This probably contributed to owls sitting in the open a bit more and hunting during daylight hours. This video shows something that I'd never seen before, a Boreal Owl actively hunting during the day.

Christopher Wood

eBird Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

  Boreal Owl - Visitor From The North
Michael Cummings

Published on Mar 13, 2013

During the winter of 2012/2013 we had an eruption of northern owls. One rare visitor was the Boreal Owl. I had a chance to shoot some video one day when it was in a good viewing position. It was a real treat to be able to see this little wonder while it was visiting our city.

This video was taken with the Nikon d800 DSLR with the Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VR2. Manual focus and exposure, VR was turned off, hand held but resting on a tree branch.

Taken in 1080 HD.

  boreal owl in snowstorm
greg gecas

Published on Mar 31, 2013

This little dude perched in a pine next to our porch for a couple hours last week. What a treat!

  The Boreal Owl

Uploaded on Dec 8, 2011

This is a Boreal Owl that came to my house to prey on the birds and rodents that come to my bird feeder in Fairbanks, Alaska

  Boreal Owls in Michigan

Uploaded on Dec 22, 2008

At Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. "Barking" sound at 1:05 is a nearby Saw-whet Owl.




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