Learn All About Aegolius Funereus, a Little Owl Species

The Boral Owl, is a species of owl which is commonly known by experts by its scientific name Aegolius Funereus, in this article we will know more about what is its lifestyle, how is its diet, what is the meaning of the name Aegolius Funereus for some societies and much more.

The Aegolius Funereus

The Eagle Owl or Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) is a small owl. In the regions of Europe, it is known as Tengmalm’s owl after the Swedish naturalist named Peter Gustaf Tengmalm or, more rarely referred to as Richardson’s owl after Sir John Richardson. The scientific name is from the Latin language. The genus name Aegolius is a type of owl that is believed to be a bird of ill omen, and the word funereus means “funereal”.

This species class is part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains the majority of owl species. The other grouping is the owls, which are of the Tytonidae family. Because of its great shyness and evasive reaction to human activities, nocturnal habits and inaccessibly preferred taiga forest habitat, it ranks as one of, if not the least known owl in North America and Europe.


The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) is 22 to 27 cm long with a wingspan of 50 to 62 cm. It is brown on the upperparts, with white spots on the shoulders. The underparts are whitish and are streaked with rust.

The head is large in size, with yellow eyes and a white facial disk, and a “surprised” appearance. The bill of this species is light yellow instead of a dark one, like its relative the Owl or Eagle Owl. The flight is strong and direct. Young birds are chocolate brown.

Color Pattern

This species is usually brown with white spots on the back and brown stripes on the belly which is white. The eyes are yellow and look out from a grayish-white facial disk that is bordered with brown. It has tiny white shaped spots dotted on the crown.


The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) is an owl of an unsociable nocturnal lifestyle. Its call is similar in sound to the “winnowing” of the North American Wilson’s Snipe. This species is not normally a migratory bird, but in some fall seasons significant numbers tend to move further south.

It is rarely found far south of its breeding range, however this is largely due to problems detecting this nocturnal L echuza outside the breeding season when it is not calling.

When attacking its prey, the Boral Owl glides to the ground and grabs it with its talons. Aegolius Funereus are solitary birds, even during the breeding season. Pairs that are mated do not roost together and usually only meet at the nest site during courtship and feeding. The male is the one who courts the female with songs and food, feeding her for up to 3 months before she can nest.

He continues to bring food to the female throughout the nesting period. Males and females tend to form monogamous bonds in North America during only 1 breeding season. In European regions, males sometimes mate with more than one female and may produce more than 1 brood per season, as opposed to single-patch pairs in North America.Males often sing to maintain their territory, but they only defend the area surrounding the nest cavity, not the entire feeding territory as such.


The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) breeds in dense coniferous forests located in northern North America and Eurasia, and in mountain ranges such as the Alps and Rocky Mountains. In these species, females lay 3 to 6 eggs in a tree hole. In much of Europe, and to a lesser extent in Asia and North America, naturalists and biologists tend to place a few nests for these and other types of small owls.


Boral Owls ( Aegolius Funereus ) usually nest in older stands of mixed coniferous forests, but also in nests located in forests that are younger.

The male advertises 1 to 5 nest sites within his territory, of which the female has the task of choosing which nest to settle in.

These kinds of owls nest in holes in trees that are called cavities which were created by woodpeckers or are naturally created holes.

They also nest as mentioned above in nests made by people specially for them in nest boxes.

What is the feeding ?

This small owl tends to eat mainly camelids and other small mammals, but they also tend to eat birds, as well as insects and other types of invertebrates. It is largely in the nocturnal form when they come out to hunt, although in the more northern parts of their range, they are forced to hunt during the day because the nights are so short in the summer seasons.

Their Mortality

The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) in band is known to live up to 16 years. Because of the owl’s small stature, it is often preyed upon by other types of owls and raptors that are larger than it, thus decreasing its average lifespan.


The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) has about 7 known subspecies which are:

The Aegolius Funereus Funereus Funereus

This was described by the famous zoologist Linnaeus, in 1758, after naming these subspecies, from the regions of Scandinavia south to the Pyrenees and east to the Urals, but has not been seen in the Caucasus Mountains.

The Aegolius Funereus Richardsoni

This specimen was found by the well-known Bonaparte, in the year 1838, this subspecies is from North America, from the limitations of Alaska to the Rocky Mountains and in the east to the southeast of Canada and the northeast of the United States are its habitat zones.

The Aegolius Funereus Pallens

It was discovered by a man named Schalow in 1908 who found it in southeastern Siberia at Tien Shan in China.

The Aegolius Funereus Caucasicus

This type was described by the well-known Buturlin, in 1907, who saw it in the Caucasus Mountains.

The Aegolius Funereus Magnus

Discovered by the same man Buturlin, in 1907 it was found in the eastern regions of Siberia from Kolyma to the Kamchatka peninsula.

The Aegolius Funereus Sibiricus

Another species discovered by Buturlin, in the year 1910, who also described the 3 previous species, this one is spread over the regions of Siberia.

The Aegolius Funereus Beickianus

This was described by the well-known Stresemann, in the year 1928 which was seen from the northwest of India to the western regions of China.


The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) breeds in coniferous forests from the Åland Islands to the Finnish Lapland regions. The Finnish breeding population has been estimated at 2,000 to 8,000 pairs, all depending on the stands. These are the most common habitat regions for this owl species.


This inhabits boreal forests with spruce, aspen, aspen, birch and balsam fir. Located in the high mountains of the west, it can also be found in subalpine spruce and fir forests.


The most common call of the Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) is the territorial song of the male, which varies widely from individual to individual. It is a series of notes that can be described as a ” Poop ” followed by a 3 to 4 second interval, then another series.

Conservation Status

Boral Owls ( Aegolius Funereus ) are rare and infrequently encountered. Their boreal range and nocturnal habits mean that their populations are not widely surveyed by the North American Bird Survey and very little is known about population trends. Partners in Flight has estimated that the worldwide breeding population may be about 1.7 million.

Interesting Species Facts

  • Like most other birds of prey, the female Boral Owl is much larger than the male itself. In fact, they exhibit the most extreme so-called sexual dimorphism of any American Owl, in the case of the female sometimes being up to 2 times heavier than the male.


  • The ear openings on the skull of a Boral Owl are asymmetrical, with one kind of opening at the top of the skull and the other much lower. The different positions of the ear openings is what helps the owl locate exactly where the sound is coming from, which helps measure height and distance. Find out what Owl Feeding is like.
  • The Boral Owl ( Aegolius Funereus ) that is recorded as the oldest was a male, and was at least 8 years old when it was recaptured and subsequently re-released during banding operations in Idaho, the same state in which it was banded.


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