13 Types of Owls in New Mexico

Types of Owls in New Mexico
Photo by Jesse Cason

New Mexico’s various landscapes, ranging from wooded mountains to shrubland and deserts, provide a habitat for diverse creatures.

There are many types of owls in New Mexico. That is why we will study the types of owls in New Mexico in our blog.

We’ll speak about where and when to look for them and teach you a little information about each species.

Read on!

1. Northern Saw-Whet

The name “Northern” is first on our list of types of owls in New Mexico. It is a bit misleading for this owl, which may be found throughout the United States. 

Though some populations migrate south, Northern Saw-whet owls live in New Mexico year-round.

Northern Saw-whet Owls(Aegolius acadicus) can be found in the woodlands of New Mexico.

Saw-whet types of owls in New Mexico are small and nocturnal, making them difficult to spot.

They live in dense forests and build their nests in trees higher than their eyes. They are not difficult to understand. 

At night, the harsh cries that give them their name can be heard ringing through the forests.

Saw-whet owls can be found by keeping an eye out for groups of songbirds mobbing their nests in an attempt to drive them out.

2. Barn Owl

Barn Owls (Tyto Alba) spend the entire year in their ranges and do not travel to breed. They have a permanent address in New Mexico. 

Barn Owls avoid mountain areas and can be found in agriculture and the High Plains.

They nest in abandoned buildings and other man-made constructions. If there are no man-made structures, they will dig burrows in arroyos.

Barn Owl pellets are used in science schools throughout the country. Barn types of owls in Mexico swallow their prey completely, leaving bones in their droppings. 

As a result, their pellets provide a perfect record of their diet. Nesting Barn Owls store prey in their nests to provide sustenance for their nestlings.

They frequently have dozens of little animal carcasses on hand.

3. Great Horned Owl

This is also on the list of types of owls in New Mexico. The Great-Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) can be found throughout Mexico and the United States.

Like the Barn Owl, the Great-Horned Owl is non-migratory and can be found in New Mexico annually. 

They live in White Sands National Park, Albuquerque, and other sections of the state. Because Great-Horned types of owls in Mexico are huge, they frequently feed on other large raptors. 

Once closed to hold something, their huge talons take 28 pounds of pressure to open. They employ their incredible strength to break their prey’s spines.

4. Long-Eared Owl

Long-eared owls live in New Mexico year-round. Their favored hunting areas are open fields, and they live in dense shrubbery.

Although common throughout the state, their secretive nature means they are rarely seen, and their behaviors are not as well known as those of other owls.

Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) have a remarkable call that may be heard from nearly a half-mile distance, despite their rarity.

The Large-eared Owl gets its name from the two long ear tufts that contribute to its perpetual surprise. Long-eared owls do not build nests. 

They make use of other birds’ abandoned nests. They will also use abandoned squirrel nests on occasion.

5. Short-Eared Owl

The Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) is next on our list of types of owls in New Mexico.

It breeds in Canada and has permanent populations throughout northern North America. 

They spend the winter in the south. The Short-eared owl spends part of the winter in New Mexico.

While they hunt, they will be spotted flying low over flat lands, such as farmland or open plains.

Because it is diurnal, this owl is easier to notice than others. Short-eared owls eat sloppily.

They will take the head of their prey and eviscerate it before consuming the rest whole. 

Their food consists of more than just tiny mammals. They will also consume birds on occasion.

Before devouring the rest of the bird, they will remove its wings.

6. Flammulated Owl

In terms of migration, Flammulated Owls(Psiloscops flammelous) remain a mystery.

There are, however, a few breeding populations scattered throughout New Mexico. 

There is also a recognized migratory corridor across the state’s southwestern section.

They are prevalent throughout the mountains, particularly in pine-oak woods and aspen groves.

For its size, the Flammulated Owl has an exceptionally low-pitched call. This is due to its relatively big trachea.

This effectively protects against predators who might expect a much larger owl. 

This tiny owl is more frequent than previously assumed. They are difficult to notice due to their small size and ability to camouflage. Flammulated Owls are one of the common types of owls in New Mexico

7. Whiskered Screech-Owl

The Whiskered-screech owl (Megascops trichopsis) is found primarily in Mexico. There is a small population that lives in the southwest portion of New Mexico. 

This owl prefers higher heights and lives among the treetops. The Whiskered Screech-owl is a mystery compared to its cousins, the Eastern Screech-owl and the Western Screech-owl. 

In New Mexico, it is listed as a threatened species. This owl, like the other Screech-owls, has a distinct voice. Its call is said to sound like Morse code. 

Even though it can be heard, few Whiskered Screech-owl nests have ever been discovered. Because it is so infrequently observed, nothing is known about its activities.

8. Western Screech-Owl

The list of types of owls in New Mexico is not complete without mentioning Western Screech-owls( Megascops kennicottii).

They are non-migratory. They can be found throughout the western United States and in Mexico. Their distribution extends across much of New Mexico. 

Their natural habitat is in the trees, usually along canyons. They don’t mind living in the suburbs or in the desert. This Western Screech owl is small yet the largest of New Mexico’s little owls.

As the name implies, it does not shriek. It creates a “hoo, hoo” sound instead. They blend in nicely with trees and can often be found hiding in plain sight throughout the day, hidden by the tree bark.

9. Northern Pygmy-Owl

The Northern Pygmy-owl(Glaucidium Californians)  is a year-round dweller of New Mexico’s mountains.

During the winter, they migrate to lower elevations, often into human-populated regions. 

Despite this, they will not use nesting boxes like other owl species. Many raptor species save their prey for later consumption.

Northern types of owls in Mexico are among them. They do not simply store food in tree cavities or holes.

They also use thorns to hang their catches. These little owls are diurnal, waiting for prey to get close enough for them to catch it.

10. Elf Owl

Elf Owls (Micrathene Whitneyi)  are native to the American Southwest. New Mexico has a minor population, although it is mostly found in Texas and Arizona. 

They can be found in deserts, where they nest in woodpecker holes in cactuses and in some forests. They move south for the winter and spend it in Mexico.

Elf types of owls in Mexico are the tiniest of the owl species. The bulk of their range is threatened or endangered. They primarily feed on crickets, beetles, mice, and the occasional scorpion.

11. Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) are present in New Mexico all year.

They live in deserts and grasslands and, true to their name, dig holes into building their nests.

Burrowing types of owls in Mexico that only spend the winter in New Mexico may frequently settle in tufts of grass or other vegetation.

Burrowing owls have a unique way of ensuring food availability while nesting.

In addition to caching, they will spread animal feces at the entrance to their burrow before laying their eggs. The feces attracts insects that they may readily catch and eat.

12. Mexican Spotted Owl

The Mexican Spotted Owl(Strix Occidentalis) is not just found in Mexico. It also has a permanent population spread out across New Mexico. They can be found in several national forests. 

The Mexican Spotted Owl can be found in the Lincoln, Carson, Santa Fe, Gila, and Cibola National Forests. The habits of Mexican Spotted Owls are poorly understood. 

Mexican Spotted types of owls in New Mexico are naturally rare and are becoming endangered due to habitat degradation.

Mexican Spotted Owls are similarly endangered due to their modest clutch sizes and delayed breeding.

13. Boreal Owl

The Boreal Owl(Aegolius funerus) is a limited population in northern New Mexico. These types of owls in New Mexico are found in mountain areas. 

Boreal Owls nest in trees; however, they will also use nesting boxes. Because these types of owls in Mexico are nocturnal and mostly found at higher elevations, little is known about them.

It is fairly uncommon for female raptors to be noticeably larger than males. Boreal Owls take this to its logical conclusion. 

Female Boreal Owls can grow to be twice as large as males. Boreal types of owls in Mexico will find different places to roost daily, making them even more difficult to monitor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like