Today we bring to you an adorable little owl that stares out of a hole in a sycamore tree. This one-of-a-kind owl is none other than the elf owl, who peeps outside when nightfall arrives on a dry river bottom in West Texas. The elf owl is considered to be the smallest species of owl living in the world.
In height, this bird is less than 6 inches tall and its weight is lower than an ounce and a half. So technically, this owl is similar to a tiny golf ball. Apparently, the elf owl is a cold-blooded hunter. When night arrives this bird comes out of its hollow in order to hunt for prey such as crickets, beetles, spiders, lizards, and even mice.
Image Credit: Jordan Crouch
Image Credit; Joshua Stewart
These merciless hunters are even not afraid to prey on poisonous creatures such as scorpions. After the stingers are removed, the scorpions are then stored in the nest to be consumed whenever they feel like it. You might come across the elf owl if you travel to woods and desert cactus environments located in the Southwest part of Texas and Southern Arizona. These birds generally reside in woodpecker holes made in the saguaro cactus in desert areas.
Image Credit: James Tozer
Image Credit: Nathan Smith
Even though elf owls appear to be very silent, they are undoubtedly deadly. A rushing sound emanates when the air flows across the elf owl’s wings. The female of the species lays 1-4 eggs during spring and these eggs hatch in three weeks. In the beginning, the father elf owl goes hunting for food for the mother and chicks, but after some time the mother bird also joins the food hunting process.
Image Credit: Bettina Arrigoni | License
Image Credit: Dominic Sherony | License
When attacked by predators such as great-horned owls, these birds attempt to escape instead of fight. They even play dead in order to avoid the threat posed to them by predators.
During the month of October, elf owls leave the United States and migrate to Mexico because of the warmer latitude there and the abundance of insects. When springtime arrives in Southwest America, these cute little owls return to start nesting season.