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The Tengmalm's Owl, Aegolius funereus, is a small owl. It is known as the Boreal Owl in North America. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.
This bird breeds in dense coniferous forests across northern North America and Eurasia, and in mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Rockies. It lays 3-6 eggs in a tree hole.
This species is not normally migratory, but in some autumns significant numbers move further south. It is rare 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.
This smallish owl eats mainly voles and other mammals but also birds as well as insects and other invertebrates. It is largely nocturnal.
The Tengmalm's Owl is 22-27 cm long with a 50-62 cm wingspan. It is brown above, with white flecking on the shoulders. Below it is whitish streaked brown. The head is large, with yellow eyes and a white facial disc, and a "surprised" appearance. The flight is strong and direct. Young birds are chocolate brown.
The bird's call is similar in sound to the "winnowing" of the North American Wilson's Snipe.
This bird is named after the Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm.
This type of owl was featured in Out of Africa (film) as Karen Blixen's pet, although it is not native to Africa and was not the species of owl the real Karen Blixen kept.
- Tengmalm's Owl videos on the Internet Bird Collection
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