• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Boreal Owl - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Tengmalm's Owl)
Photo © by Kevin J Purcell
Bias Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, April 2004

Alternative name: Tengmalm's Owl

Aegolius funereus


The Boreal Owl is 22-27 cm long with a 50-62 cm wingspan.
It is brown above, with white flecking on the shoulders. Below it is whitish streaked brown. The head is large, with yellow eyes and a white facial disc, and a "surprised" appearance.
Young birds are chocolate brown.


This bird breeds across northern North America and Eurasia, and in mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Rockies.

This species is not normally migratory, but in some autumns significant numbers move further south. It is rare any great distance south of its breeding range, although this is partly due to the problems of detecting this nocturnal owl outside the breeding season when it is not calling.


This small owl is known as Tengmalm's Owl in Europe after the Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm.

This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl.


There are 6 subspecies[1]:

  • A. f. funereus :
  • Northern Scandinavia to Pyrénées and Urals (except for Caucasus Mountains)
  • A. f. caucasicus:
  • Northern Caucasus Mountains
  • A. f. pallens:
  • A. f. magnus:
  • North-eastern Siberia (Kolyma to Kamchatka Peninsula)
  • A. f. beickianus:
  • Extreme north-western India (Lahul) to south-western China (Qinghai)
  • A. f. richardsoni:


Dense coniferous forests.


It is largely nocturnal.


The flight is strong and direct.


This smallish owl eats mainly voles and other mammals but also birds as well as insects and other invertebrates.


It lays 3-6 eggs in a tree cavity.



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

External Links