Pygmy Owl Bird Habitat

The pygmy owl, smallest of European owls, inhabits conifer forests in lowland and mountain areas throughout Scandinavia, central and north-eastern Europe, and eastward as far as the Amur. Inhabitants of central Europe are resident, those of northern regions are transient migrants. In central Europe, it occurs chiefly in mountain areas, such as the Black Forest, Bohemian Forest and the Alps, but it may also be found in deep woods at lower elevations.

In some places, the pygmy owl is fairly common, but escapes notice in the dense forests where it makes its home. The male’s call and the female’s lower-pitched answering call may be heard as early as December.

Bird Information & Facts

Length: 16.5 cm.
Weight: A mere 75 grams. The male and female have like plumage.
Voice: A whistling note that sounds like ‘keeoo’, ‘kitchick’ or a bullfinch-like ‘whee-whee-whee’.
Size of Egg: 27.0—31.5 x 21.5—24.5 mm.

Pygmy Owl Bird Nesting

In April or May, the pygmy owl seeks a place to nest, usually in a tree cavity and preferably one made by wood-peckers, but it will also occupy a man-made starling’s nesting box hung up in its woodland territory.


The clutch generally consists of 4 to 6 eggs and the task of incubating for a period of 28 days falls to the hen alone. The young are fed insects and small birds or mammals.

The pygmy owl often stores part of its catch for future use, so the cavity may contain several dozen mice, shrews, sparrows, buntings and other small birds. It hunts its prey both night and day and is very agile. It lies in wait for its victims, perched on a branch, and as soon as it sees a suitable bird will dart out, often catching it on the wing. As a rule, it does not hunt in open spaces, keeping to the cover of trees and thickets even when attacking.

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