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Tengmalm's Owl

Tengmalm's Owl

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[Boreal Owl.]

[Aegolius funereus.]


I procured a fine male of this species at Bangor, in Maine, on the Penobscot river, in the beginning of September, 1832; but am unacquainted with its habits, never having seen another individual alive. Mr. TOWNSEND informs me that he found it on the Malade River Mountains, where it was so tame and unsuspicious, that Mr. NUTTALL was enabled to approach within a few feet of it, as it sat upon the bushes. Dr. RICHARDSON gives the following notice respecting it in the Fauna Boreali-Americana:--"When it accidentally wanders abroad in the day, it is so much dazzled by the light of the sun as to become stupid, and it may then be easily caught by the hand. Its cry in the night is a single melancholy note, repeated at intervals of a minute or two. Mr. HUTCHINS informs us that it builds a nest of grass half way up a pine tree, and lays two white eggs in the month of May. It feeds on mice and beetles. I cannot state the extent of its range, but believe that it inhabits all the woody country from Great Slave Lake to the United States. On the banks of the Saskatchewan it is so common that its voice is heard almost every night by the traveller, wherever he selects his bivouac."

STRIX TENGMALMI, Tengmalm's Owl, Swains. and Rich. F. Bor. Amer., vol. ii. p. 94.
TENGMALM'S OWL, Strix Tengmalmi, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iv. p. 559.

General colour of upper parts greyish-brown, tinged with olive; feathers of the head with an elliptical central white spot; those of the neck with a larger spot; scapulars with two or four large round spots near the end, and some of the dorsal feathers and wing-coverts with single spots on the outer web; all the quills margined with white spots on both webs, arranged in transverse series, there being six on the outer web of the third; on the tail five series of transversely elongated white spots. Disk yellowish-white, anteriorly black; ruff yellowish-white, mottled with dusky; throat brown, chin white; lower parts yellowish-white, longitudinally streaked with brown; some of the feathers of the sides with two white spots; tarsal and digital feathers greyish-yellow, with faint transverse brown bars.

Male, 11, wing 6 10/12. Female, 12.

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