Athene cunicularia

The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small-bodied species, with a round head lacking ear tufts, striking lemon yellow eyes and unusually long legs. The plumage is mostly sandy brown on the upperparts with whitish spots on the body, while the face is adorned with bold whitish eyebrows and a prominent white chin stripe. By contrast, the underparts are buffy white with brown barring. The female normally possesses darker plumage than the male. Unique among owls the burrowing owl nests underground. It can excavate a nest but is more likely to inhabit a hole made by a mammal. The burrowing owl deposits mammal dung around its burrow as bait for dung beetles, which it preys upon. Although the burrowing owl is widespread its population is undergoing a worrying decline. The burrowing owl may persue its prey on foot.




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