Deep Dive: Spotted Owls

by OBDK on November 29, 2021

Spotted Owls are rare owls that are found in old-growth forests.1&2 They have rounded heads and wings, and are brown with white spots. They like undisturbed, mature forests and suffer when there are big changes in their habitats.2&3 


There are three different subspecies of Spotted Owl: 

  • The Northern Spotted Owl – which lives in the area between British Columbia and northern California 
  • The California Spotted Owl – which inhabits California 
  • The Mexican Spotted Owl – which lives in Utah and Colorado and down into Mexico3 


The Spotted Owl is endangered in the Pacific Northwest. This is due to both the logging industry and Barred Owls. The logging industry interrupts their habitat and makes it difficult for these birds to survive.2 Meanwhile, Barred Owls have made their way into Spotted Owl habitat. Barred Owls are more aggressive than Spotted Owls and so they create more competition for habitat. They’re also able to survive the habitat changes better than Spotted Owls can, which gives them an advantage.4


Spotted Owls roost during the day and hunt small mammals at night. They like to go after deer mice, red tree mice, voles, small rabbits, and more.1&2 


Explore more about owls on our resources page here

  1. Sibley’s Owls of North America, by David Allen Sibley. Published by Earth Sky + Water, LLC. 2016.