- The boreal or Richardson's owl is about 25 centimetres (10 inches) long.
- The upper parts are grey-brown with white spots on the forehead, crown and the area around the facial disk.
- Larger spots are on the hind neck and wings, and the tail is barred.
- A distinctive brown bar separates the head from the breast.
- The breast is white with streaks and blotches of brown.
- Upon returning from their wintering areas in the northern states, boreal owls take up residence in the coniferous forests
of the northern hemisphere.
- In Alberta, they breed in all natural regions except the grassland region and the alpine sub-region.
- Main diet consists of bats, mice and other small animals.
- Being a nocturnal hunter, it usually sits motionless in the branches of trees and bushes during the day.
- Like many owls that hunt at night, it becomes very lethargic in daylight and may be approached quite closely for observation.
- Using old woodpecker nests and empty tree cavities, the owls lay four to six eggs.
The boreal owl is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
- Like all birds of prey in Alberta, the boreal owl is protected by the provincial Wildlife Act.
The boreal is similar to the saw-whet owl but is larger in size and has spots instead of streaks on the forehead.
Updated: Jan 8, 2014