Western Screech Owl ~ Raptor Series

Kimberly Chadwick

Marana, United States

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Taken at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum with a Canon Powershot sx10is

Once combined with Eastern Screech-owl, this species was accorded full species status in 1981. Western Screech-Owl thrives in varied habitats, from humid coastal forests to southwestern deserts. Where ranges meet in the Great Plains, screech-owls are best distinguished by voice. Western varies greatly in size and plumage; as many as 18 sub-species have been recognized.


  • The Western Screech Owl was first described in 1867. Common names include Little Horned Owl, Dusk Owl, Ghost Owl, Mouse Owl, Cat Owl, Little Cat Owl, Puget Sound Screech Owl, Washington Screech Owl, and Coastal Screech Owl.
  • When threatened, they stretch their body and tighten their feathers in order to look like a branch stub. They become motionless if disturbed at roost, and can sometimes be caught by hand in this state.
  • At one time, the Western and Eastern Screech Owl were considered to be one species, but they have since been split into two separate species.
  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a “bazaar”, “glaring”, “parliament”, “stooping”, and “wisdom” of owls.

VOICE Distinct pure, high, crescendo poo notes that accelerate like a bouncing ball coming to rest; tremolo like Eastern, often broken in middle.

Artwork Comments

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